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Import an ArcMap document

Tutorial summary

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  • Video length: 1:03
  • This video was created with ArcGIS Pro 2.0.

If you're an ArcMap user, you may be ready to bring your work into ArcGIS Pro. In this tutorial, you'll create a new ArcGIS Pro project, import an ArcMap map package (.mpk), and examine the results. An ArcMap map package is a portable file that contains a map document (.mxd) as well as the data referenced by the map layers. (ArcGIS Pro map packages are similar but have different file extensions.)

Even if you are not an ArcMap user, you may need at some point to import a map document or map package. ArcMap software isn't required to do this tutorial. However, if you do have ArcMap software, you can open the tutorial map package in ArcMap and compare it directly to the imported map in ArcGIS Pro.

  • Estimated time: 20 minutes
  • Software requirements: ArcGIS Pro

The tutorial steps in the online help reflect the look and capabilities of the current software release. If you have an earlier software version, use the offline help system to open the tutorial. To switch from the online to the offline help system, see About ArcGIS Pro Help. If you don't have ArcGIS Pro or ArcGIS Online, you can sign up for an ArcGIS free trial .

Create a new project

  1. Start ArcGIS Pro and sign in if necessary.
  2. On the start page, click Blank to create a new, blank project.
    Start page with Blank template selected

    If you already have a project open, click the Project tab on the ribbon. Click New in the blue column on the left to see the templates for new projects.

    Your study area for the new project will be the Kelburn suburb of Wellington, New Zealand.

  3. On the Create a New Project dialog box, in the Name box, type Kelburn.
    Create a New Project dialog box

    By default, the project will be saved to the path shown in the Location box. If you want to save the project to a different location, click the Browse button Browse and browse to the folder you want.

    The Create a new folder for this project check box is selected by default. It is usually convenient to keep your ArcGIS Pro project files organized in a folder.

  4. Click OK.

    The new project is created. A blank project opens with a catalog view. It does not contain any maps.

    Catalog view
    The items in the catalog view may appear in a list format, as in this image, or as tiles. You can change the display with the buttons in the lower right corner of the view.

    You won't use the catalog view in this tutorial.

  5. Close the catalog view by clicking the Close button Close on its view tab.

    Closing a view does not remove it from the project. You can reopen the catalog view at any time from the View tab on the ribbon. If you close a map or layout view, you can reopen it from the Catalog pane.

Import a map package

The ArcMap map package you'll import contains a map document with two data frames and a layout. One data frame displays zoning in the Kelburn suburb of Wellington. The other data frame shows the suburb in relation to the rest of the city.

Both data frames appear on the layout, which also contains a legend, a picture, and other map elements.

ArcMap layout
The map layout of the ArcMap document

  1. On the ribbon, click the Insert tab. In the Project group, click Import Map Import Map.
  2. On the Import dialog box directory, under Portal, click All Portal.
  3. At the top of the dialog box, in the Search box, type Kelburn map package and press Enter.
  4. In the list of search results, click Kelburn to select the map package.

    If there is more than one map package with this name, make sure to select the correct one. In the upper right corner of the dialog box, click the Show/hide details panel button Show/hide details panel. The owner should be ArcGISProTutorials.

  5. Click OK.
    Map view of Kelburn suburb

    A map view named Kelburn opens. This map corresponds to one of the two data frames in the ArcMap map document. Layers representing the suburb boundary, walking paths, roads, and zoning are displayed on a dark gray basemap. You'll use the Catalog pane to see other items that were imported with the map document.

    If the Catalog pane isn't open, click the View tab on the ribbon. In the Windows group, click Catalog Pane Catalog Pane.
  6. In the Catalog pane, on the Project tab, expand Maps.
    Catalog pane

    The project contains two maps: the open Kelburn map and a map named Wellington. The Wellington map corresponds to the second data frame in the ArcMap document. Each data frame in an ArcMap document becomes a separate map in ArcGIS Pro.

    The following image shows the two data frames as they appear in the ArcMap table of contents.

    ArcMap table of contents
    Each data frame in an ArcMap map document becomes a separate map in ArcGIS Pro.
  7. In the Catalog pane, under Maps, right-click Wellington and click Open Open.
    Overview map of Wellington

    The city limits of Wellington are shown in light yellow. The suburb of Kelburn is marked with a red outline.

  8. In the Catalog pane, expand Layouts.

    The layout in an ArcMap document becomes a separate layout item in ArcGIS Pro. The name of the layout, KelburnMap, matches the name of the imported ArcMap document.

  9. Under Layouts, right-click KelburnMap and click Open Open.

    The layout looks like the image of the ArcMap layout at the beginning of this section.

    It may be confusing to have a map named Kelburn and a layout named KelburnMap in the same project. You'll rename the layout.

  10. In the Catalog pane, under Layouts, right-click KelburnMap and click Rename Rename.
  11. Rename the layout Kelburn Layout and press Enter.

    The new name is displayed in the Catalog pane and on the layout view tab. The project now has three open views: the Kelburn map, the Wellington map, and the Kelburn Layout layout. The layout view is active.


    To make a different view active, click its view tab.

    In the upper right corner of the ArcGIS Pro window, the Notifications bell Notifications has a blue dot. This means there are notifications to look at. In this case, the notifications are about the map import process.
  12. Click the Notifications bell Notifications.

    The Notifications pane opens.

  13. In the Notifications pane, hover over the message and click View Results.
    Message with View Results link in Notifications pane
    When you hover over the message, the View Results link appears.

    A browser tab opens with import results for the map document. There are three warnings that Basemap layers cannot be published directly to a service. The warning appears three times because the Wellington map has a basemap and the Kelburn map has both a basemap and a basemap reference layer. Although the warnings have high severity, they are important only if you share the map.

    Three other warnings describe possible problems with the imported layout. These are generic warnings and do not imply specific problems with this layout.

  14. Close the browser tab with the import results.
  15. In the Notifications pane, click the Menu button Menu and click Dismiss all.

    The blue dot disappears from the Notifications bell Notifications.

  16. Close the Notifications pane.
  17. On the Quick Access Toolbar, click the Save button Save to save the project.
  18. Note:
    You can import map documents (.mxd) from your computer or a network folder by clicking Import Map Import Map on the View menu. You can also import a map document by dragging it from ArcCatalog or the Catalog window in ArcMap and dropping it on the Catalog pane in ArcGIS Pro. Select multiple map documents to import them in one operation.
    A map document dragged from the Catalog window in ArcMap to the Catalog pane in ArcGIS Pro
    Map documents can be dragged from ArcMap or ArcCatalog to ArcGIS Pro.

Explore the maps

The Kelburn map shows how the suburb is zoned. More than 50 percent of the suburb is zoned for residential use. About 35 percent is zoned for open space. Most of the open space is used by the Wellington Botanic Garden in the northwest part of the suburb. About 12 percent of the suburb is zoned for institutional use. This land is occupied by the Victoria University of Wellington in the southeast. Less than one percent of the land is zoned for commercial use.

In contrast to the Kelburn map, which is the main map, the Wellington map is an overview map. Its purpose is to show the location of Kelburn in relation to the rest of Wellington.

You'll look at both maps to confirm that layer properties set in ArcMap have been maintained in ArcGIS Pro.

  1. Click the Kelburn view tab to make the map active.
  2. In the Contents pane, click the Zoning layer to select it.

    If the Contents pane isn't open in your application, click the View tab on the ribbon. In the Windows group, click Contents Contents.

  3. On the ribbon, under Feature Layer, click the Appearance tab. In the Drawing group, click Symbology Symbology.

    The Symbology pane opens. The Zoning layer is symbolized by unique values on the Zone field of the layer attribute table, just as it is in ArcMap.

    Symbology settings in ArcMap and ArcGIS Pro
    Symbology properties of the Zoning layer in ArcMap (top) and ArcGIS Pro (bottom)

    ArcGIS Pro and ArcMap use different methods to construct symbols, but the appearance of imported symbols is identical in most cases. For more information about how symbols are modeled in ArcGIS Pro, see Symbols.


    The symbol colors for the Zoning layer have identical RGB values in ArcMap and ArcGIS Pro. However, symbol colors may not match exactly when you import algorithmic color ramps or when colors are defined with color models other than RGB. See Visual differences in imported map documents.

    You have confirmed, at least for one layer, that symbology properties are maintained in the imported map. Next, you'll confirm that the field properties of layer attribute tables are also maintained.

  4. In the Contents pane, right-click the Roads layer and click Design > Fields Fields.

    The Fields view of the Roads layer attribute table opens. In ArcGIS Pro, the Fields view is used to display and edit field properties. The following image shows that field names, aliases, data types, and other properties have been imported with no changes.

    Field properties in ArcMap and ArcGIS Pro
    Top: Field properties of the descr field in the Roads layer in ArcMap. Bottom: The same field properties in ArcGIS Pro. (Not all ArcGIS Pro field properties are shown in the image.)
  5. Close the Fields: Roads (Kelburn) view.
  6. Make the Wellington map view active.
  7. On the ribbon, on the Map tab, click Bookmarks Bookmarks. Under Wellington Bookmarks, click Suburbs.
    Map of Wellington zoomed to the suburb of Kelburn

    When the map zooms in, the names and boundaries of Wellington suburbs are displayed. (The bookmarks themselves were also imported from the ArcMap document.)

  8. In the Contents pane, click the Suburb Boundaries layer to select it.
  9. On the ribbon, under Feature Layer, click the Appearance tab.

    In the Visibility Range group, note that the Out Beyond setting Minimum Scale is 1:100,000. This matches the layer's Scale Range setting in ArcMap.

    Scale range settings in ArcMap and ArcGIS Pro
    Top: Scale range settings for the Suburb Boundaries layer in the ArcMap layer properties. Bottom: Visibility range settings on the ArcGIS Pro ribbon.

    In ArcGIS Pro, the current map scale is shown in the lower left corner of the map view.

  10. On the ribbon, under Feature Layer, click the Labeling tab.

    In the Layer group, the Label button Enable Labeling is selected. This confirms that labeling is turned on for the layer. (Clicking the button turns the labels on and off.)

    The Text Symbol group shows the label symbol properties. The font is Arial 8 point Regular and the color is Lichen Green (its RGB value is 137, 137, 68) . These settings match the ArcMap layer property settings.

    Label settings in ArcGIS Pro and ArcMap
    Top: Label properties for the Suburb Boundaries layer on the ArcGIS Pro ribbon. Bottom: The equivalent settings in ArcMap.

    In ArcGIS Pro, advanced label settings are managed through the Label Class pane. This pane opens when you click the Text Symbol Dialog Box Launcher Launcher or the Label Placement Dialog Box Launcher Launcher on the Labeling tab.

Explore the layout

A quick visual comparison of the ArcMap and ArcGIS Pro layouts shows that they are nearly identical. You'll take a closer look at some of the layout elements.

Side-by-side view of the ArcMap and ArcGIS Pro map layouts
The ArcMap layout (left) and the ArcGIS Pro layout (right)

  1. Make the Kelburn Layout view active.

    In the last section, you zoomed in on the Wellington map to see the suburb names and boundaries. Notice that the Wellington map frame in the layout remains zoomed out to the entire city. In ArcGIS Pro, you can compose a layout while navigating freely in the map view—something you can't do in ArcMap.

    The Contents pane lists all the elements in the layout. To work with an element, you can select it on the layout view or in the Contents pane.


    You can hover over a layout element in the Contents pane to identify it. For example, this layout has five text elements. Hovering over these elements displays their associated text.

  2. In the Contents pane, click Alternating Scale Bar.

    The item is selected in the Contents pane and on the layout. The scale bar is in the lower left corner of the Kelburn map frame. It's hard to see that it's selected because the selection box is black.

  3. On the ribbon, under Scale Bar, click the Design tab.

    Scale and unit settings such as the division value, number of divisions, and units have been imported correctly from ArcMap.

    Scale bar properties on the Design tab of the ribbon
    The Design tab settings on the ArcGIS Pro ribbon match the Scale and Units tab of the Alternating Scale Bar Properties dialog box in ArcMap (not shown).

    Other layout element settings have also been imported correctly. For example, text elements have the same font properties. The scales of the Kelburn and Wellington map frames are also the same as in the original ArcMap layout.

    A minor difference can be seen in the legend. In the ArcGIS Pro legend (left), under Roads, the Cable Car legend item appears above Streets. In the ArcMap legend (right), Streets is on top.

    Side-by-side view of the ArcGIS Pro and ArcMap legends
    Left: The ArcGIS Pro layout legend. Right: The ArcMap layout legend.

    This difference is not an error. It is a result of the different ways in which ArcMap and ArcGIS Pro prioritize the <all other values> symbol in a layer.

  4. In the Contents pane, expand Kelburn Map Frame.

    In the list of layers, under Roads, notice that Cable Car appears above Streets. The legend matches the layer symbology. As explained in the following note, it was the layer symbology, not the legend, that changed slightly in the import process.


    In the ArcMap document, streets in the Roads layer are symbolized by <all other values>. In other words, any feature that isn't a cable car is labeled a street and drawn with the same gray line symbol. This symbology property is preserved in ArcGIS Pro. However, in ArcMap, <all other values> is always the first symbol listed in a layer; in ArcGIS Pro, it is always the last symbol listed.

    Symbol for all other values in ArcMap and ArcGIS Pro
  5. Leave the Contents and Catalog panes open. Close any other panes.
  6. On the Quick Access Toolbar, click Save Save.

ArcGIS Pro imports most data frame and layer property settings exactly from ArcMap. However, the two applications have different drawing engines, so differences may occur in the way symbols, colors, and fonts are handled. ArcGIS Pro does not import elements from ArcMap if the underlying functionality is not supported. For example, map annotation is not imported.

In addition to ArcMap documents, you can import 3D documents from ArcScene and ArcGlobe. You can also convert 2D maps to 3D scenes in ArcGIS Pro as shown in the quick-start tutorials Create a project and Convert a map to a scene. To learn more about layouts in ArcGIS Pro, try Make a layout.

For information about importing models and scripts from ArcMap to ArcGIS Pro, see the help topics below.

Related topics