Share a layer package

A layer can be saved with its data as a layer package (.lpkx). A layer package includes both the layer properties and the dataset referenced by the layer. With a layer package, you can save and share everything about the layer—its symbology, labeling, field properties, and associated data.

Other users can add layer packages directly into their maps without needing to access the database or set layer properties. A layer package will be larger in size than a layer file because it includes the data.

Additionally, a layer can be saved as a schema-only layer package. This type of package allows you to share a layer design and the corresponding data model design without sharing the data. When you unpack a schema-only layer package, the data model for the layers is loaded into the project's default geodatabase. You can then load your own datasets for the layers in that geodatabase.


For a finer degree of control over how data is packaged, you can use the Package Layer geoprocessing tool. For example, you can specify that only data within the current map extent is packaged or that network datasets be excluded when packaging network analysis layers.

Create a layer package

Complete the following steps to create a layer package:

  1. Select the layers you want to package in the Contents pane.
  2. On the Share tab, in the Package group, click Layer New layer package. Alternatively, right-click the selected layers, point to the Sharing menu, and click Share As Layer Package New layer package.

    The Package Layers pane appears.

  3. Specify where to save your package, either to your online account or as a file on disk.
  4. Provide the name and, if saving the package to a file, the location for your new package on disk.
  5. Optionally, complete the Summary and Tags fields.

    A summary and tags are required when sharing to an ArcGIS Enterprise 10.9 or earlier portal.

    You can enter a maximum of 128 tags.

  6. Check the Include Enterprise and UNC Path Data check box if you want to extract data from an enterprise geodatabase or UNC path data to a file geodatabase. If this option is not checked, map layers continue to reference enterprise geodatabase data and UNC path data.
  7. If you are uploading your package to an online account, use the Folder menu to specify where the package will be stored in your portal content. The package is stored in the root of your content by default. Optionally, click the Browse button Browse to create a folder or choose an existing one. You can also type the name of the desired folder in the text box.
  8. If you are uploading a package to an online account, specify how it will be shared:
    • Everyone—Share your content with the public. Anyone can access and see it.
    • My Organization—Share your content with all authenticated users in the organization. This option is available when you are signed in with an organizational account.
    • Groups—Share your content with groups to which you belong and their members.

    Leave all options unchecked to set the sharing level to the owner of the item.

  9. Add the items you want to include to Attachments. This option allows you to include other content, such as detailed documentation, reports, and graphs. The following types of files cannot be included: .js, .vbs, .py, .pyc, .pyo, .bat, and .ocx. Also, only signed .dll and .exe files are allowed.
  10. Under Finish Sharing, click Analyze Analyze to review for potential problems.

    Errors and warnings are listed on the Messages tab. Right-click a message to open its help topic or take corrective action in the software. Errors Error must be resolved before you can share your GIS resource. Resolving warnings Warning is recommended but not required.

    Learn more about analyzing GIS resources

  11. Once the package is validated, click Package to create your package.

Create a schema-only layer package

The Package Schema Only option allows you to share a layer without its data.

The steps for creating a schema-only layer package are the same as those outlined above for saving a layer data package, except you choose the Package Schema Only option to create a schema-only layer package.

See Add layers to a map or scene to learn how to unpack a layer package.

Related topics

In this topic
  1. Create a layer package