ArcGIS Desktop licensing

This topic presents introductory licensing concepts for ArcGIS Desktop. ArcGIS Desktop is a suite of applications that includes ArcGIS Pro. Most of this information applies equally to all ArcGIS Desktop applications. However, there is one important licensing concept—the Named User license type—that is unique to ArcGIS Pro.

Workflows for configuring ArcGIS Pro licenses are provided in subsequent topics, grouped by the type of license used:

Additional reference topics are found in the More licensing information section that follows the workflows.

Software applications included in an ArcGIS Desktop license

An ArcGIS Desktop license includes the following five desktop GIS applications:

  • ArcGIS Pro
  • ArcMap
  • ArcCatalog
  • ArcScene
  • ArcGlobe

An ArcGIS Desktop license also includes an ArcGIS Online organization subscription. The ArcGIS Online organization is an important part of an ArcGIS Desktop license. By default, you use the organization to manage ArcGIS Pro licenses as well as the licenses for ArcGIS Pro extensions and premium ArcGIS apps.


ArcGIS Pro can also be licensed separately from ArcGIS Desktop as part of an ArcGIS Online subscription.

Types of ArcGIS Desktop licenses

There are three types of ArcGIS Desktop licenses:

  • Named User (available for ArcGIS Pro only)
  • Single Use
  • Concurrent Use

Considered as a whole, ArcGIS Desktop has two license types: Single Use and Concurrent Use. When you purchase an ArcGIS Desktop license, it is one of these types. The license type you choose is used for all core ArcGIS Desktop applications except ArcGIS Pro. By default, ArcGIS Pro uses a different license type, Named User, which is unique to the ArcGIS Pro application. ArcGIS Pro uses the Named User license type whether your ArcGIS Desktop license is Single Use or Concurrent Use.

Each license type is different with respect to how the software applications are authorized, how the licenses are managed, and how users start the application on first use. Single Use and Concurrent Use licenses are configured with authorization files. Named User licenses are managed through an ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise organization. This means that if you use multiple desktop applications, such as ArcGIS Pro and ArcMap, you will probably manage the licenses differently.

It is possible to configure ArcGIS Pro to use Single Use or Concurrent Use licenses, instead of Named User licenses, but extra steps are required. These steps are described in Convert Named User licenses to Single Use and Convert Named User licenses to Concurrent Use.

For more information about each type of license, see ArcGIS Desktop license types.

ArcGIS Desktop license levels

An ArcGIS Desktop license can be purchased at one of three levels of functionality:

  • Basic
  • Standard
  • Advanced

All ArcGIS Desktop applications have the same license level. For example, if you purchase an ArcGIS Desktop advanced license, you will have an ArcGIS Pro advanced license, an ArcMap advanced license, and so on.

For more information, see ArcGIS Desktop license levels.

License duration

Perpetual licenses and term licenses are the two models for the duration of an ArcGIS Desktop license.

A perpetual license doesn’t expire. This means that all the desktop applications included in the license can be used indefinitely. However, it is necessary to stay current with an Esri Maintenance Program to receive product updates and technical support and to keep your ArcGIS Online organization active.

A term license must be renewed annually. During the license term, your ArcGIS Online organization is active and you receive product updates and technical support.

For more information, contact Esri Customer Service or your local distributor.

Extension product licenses

ArcGIS Desktop extension products integrate seamlessly with desktop applications to provide specialized functionality. When you buy an extension product, it can be authorized to work with ArcGIS Pro, ArcMap, or both if the extension product is available in both applications. (Some extensions may be specific to one application.) However, the extension products are licensed separately. The extension license for ArcMap cannot be used for ArcGIS Pro and vice versa. In addition, the extension license must have the same license type as the core product with which it is used. The extensions authorized with a Named User license cannot be used with a Concurrent Use or Single Use license. For more information about ArcGIS Pro extension products, see ArcGIS Pro extensions.

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