Work with group layers

A group layer is an assortment of layers and tables organized as a group in the Contents pane in maps or scenes. Layers within a group layer are called sublayers and can be of the same type or many types. For example, a raster layer and feature layer can exist side by side in a group layer. In maps with hundreds of layers representing different types of data, grouping layers makes data sensible and easy to use, especially when sharing maps and projects.

You can also include stand-alone tables inside group layers. They can be added directly to the group layer, or dragged from another group or the Standalone Tables section of the Contents pane into a group layer.


If a project file (.aprx) includes stand-alone tables inside group layers and is saved in ArcGIS Pro 2.9 or later, the tables are dropped from the project if it is opened in an earlier version.

Group layers control drawing options for all the layers in the group. For example, if you turn off the visibility of the group layer, it turns off the visibility of all its sublayers. Tables always appear at the bottom of the drawing order, since they are not drawn.

To determine whether a layer is a group layer, expand its name in the Contents pane. When expanded, its contents (if any) are indented to the right.

Some geoprocessing tools create group layers as output. When setting parameters in tools, the name of the group layer precedes the name of its sublayer, as follows: Group layer name \ Sublayer name.

Create a group layer

You can create group layers in the Contents pane of a map or scene.

  1. Right-click the name of the map or scene in the Contents pane and click New Group Layer New Group Layer.
  2. To rename a group layer, right-click the layer's name in the Contents pane and click Properties Properties. On the Layer Properties dialog box, on the General tab, type a new name in the Name text box.

    You can also click a group layer's name in the Contents pane to rename it.

  3. Drag any layers and tables into the group layer to include them in the group.

    If the group layer is not expanded, you can hover over the group layer when dragging another item. A box surrounding the group layer's name appears, indicating that the item will be added to the group layer.

Alternatively, you can right-click a selection of one or more items and choose Group Group layer to make the selection into a new group layer.

Layers in a group layer can be in any order, but the drawing order still applies. Tables always appear at the bottom of the drawing order, since they are not drawn.

You can add or remove layers and tables at any time. To ungroup a group layer, right-click the group layer in the Contents pane and click Ungroup Ungroup layer. Sublayers are moved to the parent group layer, if it exists, and stand-alone tables are returned to the Standalone Tables section of the Contents pane.

Set group layer properties

Items that are in a group layer maintain most of their original properties. However, any properties set on the group layer override its sublayers. Those properties are outlined below.

To manage the contents of a group layer, complete the following steps:

  1. In the Contents pane, click a group layer to highlight it.
  2. On the Group Layer tab, set the following optional properties:

Share group layers

You can right-click a group layer and choose to share it as a layer package to an online organization. For more information, see Share a layer package. Alternatively, you can create a layer file.

It is not possible to share a group layer as a web feature layer. See 24035: Layer type is not supported for web feature layer for more information.