Essential ArcGIS Pro licensing vocabulary


Active portal

The portal you are signed in to on ArcGIS Pro. The active portal is the portal that is searched for content when you add data from ArcGIS Online ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise ArcGIS Enterprise. It is also the portal to which maps and layers are shared from ArcGIS Pro. The active portal is marked with a check mark Active Portal on the Portals tab on the ArcGIS Pro Settings page. See Manage portal connections from ArcGIS Pro.

Compare to Licensing portal and Portal.

Add-on license

In ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Enterprise, an application license that is not conferred automatically by a particular user type. For example, an ArcGIS Pro license is an add-on license for the Creator user type because it is compatible with the user type but is not conferred automatically.

See User type.

Advanced license

One of three ArcGIS Pro license levels (Basic, Standard, and Advanced). The Advanced license level includes all the functionality of the Basic and Standard license levels and adds functionality in the areas of analysis, cartography, and data management.

ArcGIS Desktop

A suite of GIS software products that includes ArcGIS Pro, ArcMap, ArcCatalog, and an ArcGIS Online subscription.

ArcGIS developer account

A single-user account that provides access to the tools, services, and APIs required to build and deploy applications that access the ArcGIS platform. It provides full access to the developer dashboard to manage API keys, OAuth credentials, hosted layers, and developer subscription details.

Compare to ArcGIS organization account and ArcGIS public account.

ArcGIS Enterprise

A mapping, analytics, data hosting, and content management product that can be hosted on-premises or in your infrastructure. ArcGIS Enterprise can be used in tandem with or in place of ArcGIS Online. It is composed of a portal, a server, a data store, and an ArcGIS Web Adaptor. See What is ArcGIS Enterprise?

ArcGIS License Manager

A software application required for Concurrent Use licensing of ArcGIS Desktop products and Named User licensing of ArcGIS Pro with ArcGIS Enterprise. ArcGIS License Manager keeps track of the number of copies of a desktop application that can be run at the same time. See License manager basics.

ArcGIS Online

A cloud-based portal that provides secure mapping, analytics, and data storage. It is used to create, store, share, and manage an ArcGIS account holder's maps, location services, apps, data, and other geographic content. See What is ArcGIS Online?

ArcGIS Online organization

The administrative structure of ArcGIS Online. It provides the GIS tools and user interface for online mapping, analysis, and data management. It is also used to manage membership, user software privileges, and licensing of ArcGIS Pro and other premium apps.

ArcGIS organization

An ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise organization.

ArcGIS organization account

A single-user account associated with an ArcGIS Online organization that can be used to access tools, services, and APIs to develop applications for the organization. A user's capabilities are determined by their user type and role assigned by the administrator.

Compare to ArcGIS developer account and ArcGIS public account.

ArcGIS Pro

A professional desktop GIS application that can explore, visualize, analyze, and manage 2D and 3D data. ArcGIS Pro supports data sharing across ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Enterprise.

ArcGIS Pro Licensing Service

A necessary component to authorize a Single Use license or to borrow a Concurrent Use license in ArcGIS Pro. It is available in the C:\Users\<user profile>\AppData\Local\Programs\ArcGIS\Pro\Resources\ArcGIS Pro Licensing Service folder. A per-user installation of ArcGIS Pro does not include the ArcGIS Pro Licensing Service. See Install ArcGIS Pro for information about per-user and per-machine installation options.

ArcGIS Pro Trial

A free, temporary license to try ArcGIS Pro. Each trial includes a single ArcGIS Pro license that is intended for one person's use. The ArcGIS Pro license is a Named User license and the license level is Advanced. See the ArcGIS Pro Free Trial page.

ArcGIS public account

A free, entry-level account that can be used to access tools for creating and sharing content such as layers, maps, and scenes. Public accounts have feature, usage, and storage limitations, and cannot be used to develop applications.

Compare to ArcGIS developer account and ArcGIS organization account.

Authorization file

A text file, authorization.respc, used to complete the software license authorization process when an internet connection is not available. See Authorization files.

Basic license

One of three ArcGIS Pro license levels (Basic, Standard, and Advanced). The Basic license level provides essential functionality in the areas of map creation, data visualization, and spatial analysis.

Concurrent Use license

A type of software license that allows many users to share access to ArcGIS Desktop applications from computers on a network. See ArcGIS Desktop license types.

Core product

Any of the products that come with an ArcGIS Desktop license: ArcGIS Pro, ArcMap, ArcCatalog, ArcScene, or ArcGlobe.

Compare to Extension.


A product that integrates seamlessly with an ArcGIS Desktop core product to provide specialized functionality. Examples of extensions are Spatial Analyst, 3D Analyst, and Image Analyst.

License file

A file created in My Esri and used to complete authorization information in the Software Authorization Wizard. If you are using Portal for ArcGIS 10.7 or later as your licensing portal, your license file will be a JSON file. Otherwise, it will be a plain text file with the extension .prvc or .prvs. See License files.

License files were formerly known as provisioning files.

License level

For ArcGIS Pro and other ArcGIS Desktop products, a licensing choice (Basic, Standard, or Advanced) that determines the scope of product functionality. See License levels.

License Manager

See ArcGIS License Manager.

Licensing portal

The portal that validates a user's credentials when they start ArcGIS Pro. The licensing portal is marked with a key icon Licensing Portal on the Portals tab of the ArcGIS Pro Settings page.

Compare to Active portal and Portal.


A program for holders of ArcGIS Desktop perpetual licenses. Maintenance includes software updates, technical support, access to ArcGIS Online, and more.

My Esri

A web interface for managing Esri software downloads and licensing. Relationships with Esri departments such as Customer Service, Technical Support, and Training are also managed through My Esri.

Named User license

A type of software license that provides access to ArcGIS Pro through membership in an ArcGIS organization. See ArcGIS Pro license types.

Perpetual license

An ArcGIS Desktop software license that does not expire. See License duration.

Compare to Subscription license.


A public or on-premises website to which ArcGIS Pro can connect, access, or share data. ArcGIS Online is a portal. ArcGIS Enterprise sites are portals. ArcGIS Online organizations and public accounts can be thought of as portals or as part of the ArcGIS Online portal.

Portal for ArcGIS

The component of ArcGIS Enterprise that is equivalent to an ArcGIS Online organization, except that it is hosted on-premises. (It can also be hosted in the cloud using ArcGIS Enterprise on Amazon Web Services or ArcGIS Enterprise on Microsoft Azure.) Portal for ArcGIS includes the infrastructure for managing web maps and data, and for managing user membership and access to the system, including ArcGIS Pro licensing. See What is the ArcGIS Enterprise portal?

Provisioning file

See License file.

Public account

See ArcGIS public account.

Single Use license

A type of software license that allows a user to install and use ArcGIS Desktop on one computer, in the case of ArcGIS Pro. In the case of other ArcGIS Desktop applications, such as ArcMap, ArcCatalog, ArcGlobe, and ArcScene, the software can be installed on two computers, with restrictions. See ArcGIS Pro license types.

Standard license

One of three ArcGIS Pro license levels (Basic, Standard, and Advanced). The Standard license level includes all the functionality of the Basic license level and adds functionality in the areas of editing and data management.

Subscription license

An ArcGIS Desktop software license that is valid for a specific time period, usually one year, after which it must be renewed. See License duration.

Compare to Perpetual license.

User type

In an ArcGIS organization, a status that determines a member's capabilities and access to applications, including ArcGIS Pro. User types are assigned by an administrator in ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise. See User types, roles, and privileges.

Essential terms used in ArcGIS Pro licensing topics

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