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Search project and portal items

Sometimes you want to use an item that you know exists, but you don't know where it is stored. You can quickly search for items either on local or networked computers or in the active portal from the Catalog pane, the catalog view, and the browse dialog box.

Search for project items

ArcGIS Pro automatically creates and dynamically updates a searchable index as you build and work with projects. Items are indexed when they are added to a project. If you receive a project from someone else or if you have used Save As to create a new project, its items may be indexed the first time you search in the Catalog pane when you are using the Project tab. While the index is being created, searches will not return any results. Therefore, it may take some time to get the first set of search results after opening a project package, or after adding a new enterprise database connection.

The ArcGIS Pro search index is stored on the local computer in your user profile directory. When you are working with the project items collection, this local index is used to evaluate and produce the search results.

Only items that are included in your project will be returned by a search such as items that can be accessed from a folder or database connection that was added to the project. When you use the Browse dialog box and browse drives using the My Computer quick links, you can't search for items. You can search for items stored on these drives using Windows Explorer.

Learn more about how project items are indexed


Projects are not accessible from the Catalog pane. To switch from one project to another, see Open a project.

Search for portal items

For portal item collections, the index behind the active portal is used to evaluate and produce the search results. The index is based on the item description that was provided when items were shared, published, or uploaded.

In the Catalog pane, you can search for portal items by choosing to work with one of the portal item collections—My Content, Groups, All Portal, or Living Atlas—instead of the project items collection. Searching for portal items will return similar results as when you search ArcGIS Online or your organization’s portal using a web browser.

Your search results may be limited to items that have been provided by your organization. If your organization’s administrator allows you to search for public items provided by outside sources, include these items in your search results by unchecking Search My Organization from the Menu button Menu.


In general, only items that can be used in ArcGIS Pro will be available from the active portal. However, some items may appear with the generic online item icon Online item; this icon indicates the portal item isn't recognized by ArcGIS Pro and can't be used at this time.

Search using keywords

When you search, the index associated with the collection of items you are working with is analyzed to determine which items have information matching the provided keywords. If an item's indexed content includes words that match, it will be included in the search results. For example, if you type land, your search results will include all items with the word land in the index.

Some keywords have special meaning. For example, a search with the keyword shapefile will return items that are shapefiles as well as any item where the word shapefile is included in its item description.

For project items such as shapefiles and geodatabase tables that are referenced by the project and stored on a local or network computer, their location is included in the index. If an item is stored in a folder named land or shapefiles and you search using these keywords, the search results will include items stored in these folders.

An asterisk (*) can be used as a wildcard character when you provide keywords. For example, if you type land*, your search results will include items with the word landmark or landscape in the index.

To improve your search results, document items when you create them by providing a descriptive title in place of the item’s name and an appropriate set of tags. For better results, provide more information describing who, what, when, where, why, and how for the item.

For example, if there are two items named ctylandmrk and landmgt, a search with the keyword land* will only match and return the item landmgt if no further information has been provided. The ctylandmrk item would not be returned, because its name does not begin with the word land; it would be returned by a search with the keyword *land*. However, if a descriptive title such as County landmarks had been provided, the item would have been returned by a search with the keyword land*.

Get more items

When searching for either project or online items, the items with the best match for the search criteria are returned first. The first 30 items returned are listed in the Catalog pane. Click Find more items at the bottom to add more items to that list.

Get fewer items

If you search with keywords common to many project or portal items, your search results may include too many items to find the ones you need quickly and easily. Add more specific keywords to the Search control and press Enter. A new set of search results will be generated. While some of the same items may continue to appear in the list, most items will be prioritized differently based on how well the new set of keywords matches the items' descriptions.

Clear search results

When you are finished with the search results, click Delete in the Search box.

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