ArcMap frequently asked questions

Find answers to common questions about ArcMap.

What is the difference between ArcGIS Desktop, ArcMap, and ArcGIS Pro?

ArcGIS Desktop is a suite of five applications: ArcMap, ArcCatalog, ArcScene, ArcGlobe, and ArcGIS Pro. The first four are designed to work together, while ArcGIS Pro is designed to work independently and is approximately equivalent in functionality to the other four combined. ArcGIS Desktop also includes a subscription to ArcGIS Online. ArcGIS Pro is the only one of these applications that can be purchased separately from ArcGIS Desktop.

Can I run ArcGIS Desktop and ArcGIS Pro on the same computer?

Yes. You can install and use the applications on the same computer. You can also have them open at the same time.

How do I start an edit session in ArcGIS Pro?

By default, data is always editable in ArcGIS Pro. Optionally, you can configure the application to enable and disable editing explicitly, as in ArcMap.

Will Python scripts and tools written for ArcMap work in ArcGIS Pro?

Yes, in most cases. ArcGIS Pro uses Python 3.x; other ArcGIS Desktop and ArcGIS Server applications use Python 2.x. In spite of differences between these two Python versions, many geoprocessing scripts can be used without modification in either ArcMap or ArcGIS Pro. In some cases, it is necessary to migrate Python scripts to ArcGIS Pro. Use the Analyze Tools For Pro geoprocessing tool to analyze a script or toolbox for necessary changes.

Are the geoprocessing tools in ArcMap available in ArcGIS Pro?

Yes, most of the geoprocessing tools in ArcMap are available in ArcGIS Pro. Some tools that are not available may be available in a future release. Tools that work with data formats that are not supported in ArcGIS Pro, such as coverages, will not be available in the future. Each release of ArcGIS Pro includes new geoprocessing tools that are not available in ArcMap.

Do geoprocessing models built in ArcMap work in ArcGIS Pro?

Yes, in most cases. However, if a model uses a tool that is not available in ArcGIS Pro, the model will not work. You may be able to remove the tool and use an alternate workflow. A model built in ArcMap may include a tool that has slightly different functionality in ArcGIS Pro. For example, in ArcGIS Pro, the Calculate Field tool does not support Visual Basic (VB) expressions. Refer to a tool's help topic to determine what changes may be required for the tool to run successfully in an ArcGIS Pro model.


Before saving a model that was built in ArcMap in ArcGIS Pro, make a backup copy of the toolbox that contains the ArcMap model. Once a model is saved in ArcGIS Pro, it can't be used in other ArcGIS applications. Learn about migrating ModelBuilder workflows to ArcGIS Pro.

Can I use maps authored in ArcMap in ArcGIS Pro?

Yes. You can import map documents (.mxd) and map packages (.mpk) into ArcGIS Pro. You can also import scene (.sxd) and globe (.3dd) documents. The same file geodatabase and shapefile datasets can be used by both applications.

I imported a map document with multiple data frames. Why do I see only one map in ArcGIS Pro?

When you import a map document (.mxd), each data frame becomes a separate map in your ArcGIS Pro project; however, only one of the maps opens. You can open the other maps from the Catalog pane. The map document layout is also imported. If the map document was saved in Layout View in ArcMap, ArcGIS Pro opens the layout instead of a map.

Can I use ArcMap styles in ArcGIS Pro?

Many ArcMap styles have been retired and are not included as system styles in ArcGIS Pro. However, you can import ArcGIS Desktop styles into ArcGIS Pro. A number of styles have been converted to the ArcGIS Pro *.stylx format and can be downloaded from ArcGIS Online at ArcGIS Pro Styles. Many new creative styles are also available.

Can I create or use geometric networks in ArcGIS Pro?

Geometric networks are a read-only dataset in ArcGIS Pro. In ArcGIS Pro, trace networks are used to manage, model, and analyze simple networks such as hydrology networks. Utility networks are used for complex networks such as water, gas, electric, telecom, sewer, and stormwater networks.

Will an ArcObjects application built for ArcMap work in ArcGIS Pro?

No. ArcGIS Pro has a new .NET API with functionality and workflows that are different from ArcMap. The new API was built using ArcObjects; however, ArcObjects is not exposed directly.

Can I open an ArcGIS Pro project in ArcMap?

No. ArcGIS Pro projects can be opened only in ArcGIS Pro.

Can I run tools and models built in ArcGIS Pro in ArcMap?

Models that are built, or opened and saved, in ArcGIS Pro cannot be used directly in ArcMap. However, you can save a toolbox from ArcGIS Pro to a 10.x version of ArcMap. A model stored in that toolbox can then be run in ArcMap.


If the model includes tools or data types that are not available in ArcMap, the model will not run even if the toolbox is saved to an ArcMap-compatible version. Use the Analyze Toolbox For Version tool to identify compatibility issues.

Can I use maps authored in ArcGIS Pro in ArcMap?

Yes. You cannot export a map from ArcGIS Pro as a map document (.mxd). However, after you share an ArcGIS Pro map as a web map, you can open it in ArcMap.

Alternatively, you can sign in to ArcGIS Online through a web browser, search for a web map, and open its item page. On the item page, click Open in ArcGIS Desktop > Open in ArcMap. Double-click the downloaded item.pkinfo file.

How much longer will ArcMap be supported?

The ArcMap Continued Support web page has information on the ArcMap life cycle as well as which products are affected.

Are there resources to help me migrate from ArcMap to ArcGIS Pro?

Yes. There are help topics, tutorials, and a migration guide to help you get started.

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