Use the Catalog pane, catalog view, and browse dialog boxes

The Catalog pane, catalog view, and browse dialog boxes provide complementary ways to work with the GIS resources found in your project, your active portal, and on local or network computers.

  • The Catalog pane is normally open when you create or open a project. You can open it from the ribbon if necessary.
  • A catalog view opens by default when you create a project with the Catalog project template. You can also open a catalog view in any project.
  • Browse dialog boxes appear when completing a task, such as adding data to a map or opening a project, requires you to browse to a catalog location.

The Catalog pane and catalog view allow you to access all items associated with a specific project, whether they are available from a local or network computer, ArcGIS Online, or an ArcGIS Enterprise portal.

In the Catalog pane and catalog view, you can perform the following operations:

As you build your project by adding maps, scenes, layouts, geodatabases, item connections, and so on, these items are organized by type on the Project tab of the Catalog pane. In the Contents pane of a catalog view, they appear under the Project collection Project.

The Catalog pane and one or more catalog views can be open at the same time, but they operate independently. For example, you can edit symbols in a custom style in a catalog view and pause in that work to add layers to a map from the Catalog pane.


The first time you browse to a location in either the Catalog pane or a catalog view, the contents list is accurate and up-to-date. However, if items are changed outside ArcGIS Pro by you or someone else (for example, if a folder is renamed in Windows Explorer), you must refresh the location's content to see the changes.

Catalog pane

The Catalog pane has tabs that provide access to collections of items.

The Catalog pane with the Project tab selected
The Project, Portal, and Favorites tabs organize item collections.

The Project tab, selected by default, provides access to item collections in your project, such as Maps Maps, Toolboxes Toolbox folder, and Databases Databases. The Portal tab provides access to content collections in your active portal, such as My Content My Content and My Organization My Organization. The Favorites tab provides quick access to frequently used folder, database, and server connections.

In the Catalog pane, you can perform the following operations:

  • Press Ctrl+Plus sign (+) or Ctrl+Minus sign (-) on a selected item collection, such as Maps Maps, to expand or collapse all collections.
  • Refresh the contents list.
  • Search for items in the Search box.
  • Hover over an item to see pop-up information and perform the following actions:
    • Click a local or network item location, when formatted as a link, to open a system file or folder.
    • Click a portal item location link to open the portal item page in a web browser. Click the owner link to open their profile.
  • Press Ctrl+click or Shift+click to select multiple items for an operation, such as Add To Map Add To Current Map.
  • Copy an item's path.

After browsing or searching for content in the Catalog pane, you can drag layers onto maps, datasets onto tools, tools onto models, and so on.

Reopen the Catalog pane

The Catalog pane is usually open when you create or open a project. If it's closed, you can reopen it by following these steps:

  1. Click the View tab on the ribbon.
  2. In the Windows group, click Catalog Pane Catalog Pane.

    The Reset Panes button Reset Panes, on the same ribbon tab, allows you to open specific panes in combination. For example, you can click Reset Panes for Mapping (Default) to open the Catalog and Contents panes and close all other panes.

Hide and show the item pop-up

The Catalog pane shows an item pop-up by default when you hover over the item. For project, local, and network items, the default pop-up shows the item's name, type, modification date (if available), and path. For portal items, the default pop-up shows the item's name, type, owner, modification date, and path.

You can hide item pop-ups. Alternatively, you can show detailed pop-ups with additional information such as thumbnails and tags. Thumbnails and tags for portal items are accessed individually over the internet; for local and network items, they are retrieved from the index. If the data has not been indexed, the information is extracted instead from the item's metadata, if it exists. This may affect performance, especially with a slow network or internet connection, or with enterprise geodatabases.

Catalog pane and detailed item pop-up

Follow these steps to show or hide item pop-ups:

  1. In the Catalog pane, click the Menu button Menu and click Show Pop-ups.
  2. Click the appropriate option:
    • Hide Pop-ups—A pop-up does not appear when you hover your pointer over an item in the Catalog pane.
    • Show Pop-ups—A pop-up shows general information when you hover over an item in the Catalog pane.
    • Show Detailed Pop-ups—A pop-up shows detailed information when you hover over an item in the Catalog pane. Browser performance may be affected.

Item pop-ups do not appear in catalog views. However, you can change pop-up settings for the Catalog pane on the ribbon when a catalog view is active. On the View tab, in the Options group, click Item Pop-ups Show Pop-ups and click the option you want.

Catalog view

You can also explore project items, portal items, and favorites in a catalog view. When a catalog view is active, you browse item collections, such as Databases Databases or Folders Folders, in the Contents pane and see the items within the collections in the catalog view window. The catalog view has a details panel that displays metadata and previews of an item's geography and tabular data. Items that are not spatial datasets, such as styles, display their unique properties. The details panel can be shown or hidden.

Items in a catalog view can be displayed in columns or tiles. In the column display, project items appear in a list that shows important properties such as their name, type, date modified, and path. Portal items show their title, badges, type, date modified, owner, and path. Badges indicate a variety of portal item properties that are mostly set in ArcGIS Online, such as authoritative content Authoritative, ArcGIS Living Atlas content Living Atlas, subscriber content Subscriber, and publicly shared content Public. You can hover over a badge to see what it means.

A catalog view of Living Atlas items displayed as columns
At the bottom of the view, the Columns button is selected. The details panel is hidden.

In the tile display, items appear as rectangular boxes that show their name, type, and modification date, along with a thumbnail image for supported items.

A catalog view of Living Atlas items displayed as tiles
At the bottom of the view, the Tiles button is selected. Metadata for the selected tile appears in the details panel.

In the details panel, the Metadata tab displays metadata for most items. For spatial datasets and maps, the Geography tab allows you to visualize the data. For tabular datasets, the Table tab allows you to visualize the data. For a style, you can preview the symbols, scale bars, north arrows, and other style items it contains, and modify a style item's properties in the details panel.

In the catalog view, you can do the following:

  • Right-click in the white space around the contents list to access the context menu for the current location.
  • Click Show/hide details panel Show/hide details panel at the bottom of the view to hide or show the details panel.
  • Click Columns Display information in columns or Tiles Display information on tiles at the bottom of the view to switch the display type.
  • In the column display, drag headers to rearrange the column order.

On the ribbon, the buttons on the Catalog tab update dynamically to show what you can do in the current catalog location or with the selected items. Some project item collections have contextual tabs with additional options for managing items. You can manage items in a catalog view in the following ways:

  • Create items in your project or in items referenced by your project. For example, create a folder on a local or network disk or in your active portal's My Content collection.
  • Add items created with ArcGIS Pro, such as map files (.mapx) and layout files (.pagx), to your project.
  • Import items created with other applications to your project. For example, you can import a scene from an ArcGlobe document.
  • Refresh the contents list.
  • Copy or move project items.
  • Rename items.
  • Alias folder connections.
  • Upgrade a style and modify style items.
  • Create thumbnails for items with spatial data.
  • Edit item metadata.
  • Delete items.
  • Repair invalid item connections.

The following additional options are available to browse item collections using the location bar. The location bar shows your current location in the catalog.

Location bar

  • Click the bar to copy the location's path.
  • Click a place in the current location's path to browse to that location.
  • Click the Location bar drop-down arrow and click a place in the menu that appears to browse to that location.
  • Paste or type a path to another location onto the Location bar and press Enter to browse to that location. (A folder connection is added to the project if the location is not already available in your project.)
  • Click Up Up to go up a level in the current collection's hierarchy.
  • Click Back Back to return to your last location.
  • Click Forward Forward to return to a previous location.

The Catalog pane does not directly interact with the catalog view. Browsing, searching, and selecting items in the Catalog pane has no effect on locations or item selections in catalog views. However, if you add or remove project items, such as folder connections, in the Catalog pane, the contents list in the catalog view is updated accordingly.

Open a catalog view

You can open several catalog views and use them to compare the contents of databases or folders, compare metadata for two items, copy style items from one style to another, and so on. Follow these steps to open a catalog view.

  1. Click the View tab on the ribbon.
  2. In the Windows group, click Catalog View Catalog View.

    A new catalog view opens. Any existing catalog views and the Catalog pane remain open and continue to provide access to items in their current locations.


    New catalog views open to the Project level Project of the catalog. When you browse to a location, save the project, and later reopen it, the catalog view starts by default from its location when the project was saved. You can change the default behavior in the catalog browsing options.

Switch from the Catalog pane to a catalog view

When you switch to a task that requires or is more easily performed in the catalog view, you can close the Catalog pane.

  1. In the Catalog pane, click the Menu button Menu.
  2. Click Switch to View Expand.

    The Catalog pane closes and a catalog view opens.


    If you need more room in the catalog view, you can, for example, undock it and place it on another monitor. You can also use Auto Hide to temporarily hide the Catalog pane if you leave the catalog view docked. Or you can close the Catalog pane entirely.

Sort the contents list

The default sort order of project items in top-level project collections—such as Toolboxes Toolbox folder, Databases Databases, and Folders Folder Connection—is alphabetical, except that project default items are listed first.

Within a folder, items appear in the following order: folders, databases, toolboxes, CAD datasets, GIS servers, spatial datasets and maps, tables, and other files. Items of each type are in alphabetical order.

You can change the default sort order of content in a catalog view. You can sort content in ascending or descending order on any available property column. You can also return to the default sort order. You can sort in three ways:

  • By clicking the Sort button Sort in the catalog view as described below
  • By clicking the Sort button Sort on the ribbon (on the Catalog tab, in the Organize group)
  • By clicking a column heading in the catalog view

Items can only be sorted in a catalog view. Sorting items in a catalog view does not change the item order in the Catalog pane or the Contents pane of the catalog view. The default sort order for portal items is slightly different from project items.

Follow these steps to sort items in a catalog view:

  1. Make a catalog view active and browse into a content collection.
  2. In the catalog view, next to the search box, click Sort Sort and click an available property on the drop-down list.
  3. Optionally, click Sort Sort again and make one of the following choices:
    • Reverse the current sort order
    • Sort on a different property
    • Return to the default sort order.

    Drop-down list of sort options


    If you sort by clicking a column heading in the catalog view, you can reverse the sort order by clicking the heading again.

Change the display type

By default, catalog views display information in columns. If you're working with unfamiliar data, or if you're managing the contents of a style, you may prefer to see information presented as tiles. Follow these steps to change the display type:

  1. On the ribbon, click the View tab. In the Options group, click Display Type.
    • Click Tiles Display information on tiles to display item properties as tiles.
    • Click Columns Display information in columns to display item properties in columns.

    The Tiles and Columns buttons are also available at the bottom of the catalog view.

Hide or show the details panel

By default, catalog views display the details panel. The details panel allows you to view an item's metadata and preview its geography and table. You can hide the panel to enlarge the catalog view display area. Follow the step below to hide or show the details panel:

  1. On the ribbon, click the View tab. In the Options group, click Details Panel Show/hide details panel to hide or show the panel.

    You can also click Show/Hide Details Panel Show/hide details panel at the bottom of the view.

Browse dialog boxes

Browse dialog boxes allow you to select project items, portal items, or items outside your project to use for specific tasks. All browse dialog boxes are similar, but are named differently according to the task they facilitate. For example, the Add Data browse dialog box is used to browse to data to add to a map, and the Open Project browse dialog box is used to browse to projects.

A browse dialog box allows you to explore items in a manner similar to a catalog view. Quick links provide access to the available item collections but do not expand to list their contents. Item properties are displayed in columns that you can use to sort the contents list. A brief portion of a selected item's metadata is available in the details panel.

The Add Data browse dialog box with a portal item selected.

Some items show more information than others in the details panel. All items show their title, type, and location. Many items also show a modification date. Portal items additionally show the item owner, tags, and a thumbnail and summary if they have been provided. Local items can show a thumbnail, summary, and tags, if they have been provided in the item's metadata.


For portal items, the user identifier (Owner) links to a profile and the location (Path) links to an item page. For ArcGIS Server services, the location links to the service's REST endpoint in a browser. For file-based local and network items, the link opens the folder containing the item in Windows Explorer. For geodatabase items such as feature classes, toolbox items such as models, and for broken items, the path is displayed but does not link to the location.

The Project and Portal item collections are available on browse dialog boxes; the Favorites collection, however, is not. You can search the active portal and locations included in the current project, except folder connections that access the root of a disk.

Browse dialog boxes also include a Computer collection that allows you to browse to and select items from locations on the local computer or the network that are not currently included in your project. This capability allows you to add an existing file geodatabase to your project or import the contents of an ArcMap document, for example. Search is not available when you're browsing the computer.

You browse on a dialog box in the same manner as in a catalog view, by clicking quick links, double-clicking containers, and using the Location. You can also use the following techniques:

  • Click the Location bar or click in the Name text box to paste or type the path to a new location and press Enter. The dialog box browses to that location. If the location is not accessible from the computer's local or mapped network drives, the network location is accessed and the items it contains are listed; the location is not added to the project as a folder connection.
  • Paste a full path to an item, including the item's name, into the Name text box to select that item. For example, you can paste a full path, including a table's name, to add it to the current map.

Items listed on a browse dialog box are filtered to display those that you can use to perform the current task. For example, when you add data to a map, only items that you can add to a map appear. When you import items to a project, only items that you can import appear.

A browse dialog box may allow you to further refine the contents list by choosing a more specific filter. For example, if you want to add a specific type of item to a map, you can select a filter that lists only that type of item.

Browse dialog box showing items filtered by type
The contents of a folder filtered to show layer files and packages.

Sometimes a browse dialog box is used to provide access to a specific type of file that is otherwise not available in ArcGIS Pro. For example, many geoprocessing tools import data from or export data to external data formats. These tools may accept any type of file as input to a parameter, for example, by allowing files of type *.*. In this case, a browse dialog box may list all available item collections, and show all types of items and files, even though the title of the dialog box and the filter indicate you should select a specific type of file. In this way, you can select any file with any extension that contains data in the specified format.

You can manage items on a browse dialog box with the following operations:

Browse dialog boxes have default behavior that determines the catalog location to which they initially open and whether they subsequently open to previous locations. The default behavior may vary from one browse dialog box to another. You can set browse dialog boxes not to use their default behavior in the catalog browsing options.

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