Migration from ArcGIS Pro 2.x to 3.0

After installing ArcGIS Pro 3.0, projects and files that you or others created in ArcGIS Pro can be opened because they are forward compatible. When you save them using ArcGIS Pro 3.0, they are enabled with properties that allow you to take advantage of new capabilities.

Backwards compatibility

Because ArcGIS Pro 3.0 is a major release, the files it saves may or may not work with the ArcGIS Pro 2.x series. Details of what works and what doesn’t are provided later in this topic. However, you don’t need to worry about all of those details if the projects and documents you create or save are always used in ArcGIS Pro 3.x. This is the case when:

  • You don’t share your ArcGIS Pro files with other ArcGIS Pro users, such as if you are the only GIS analyst in an organization.
  • You and your colleagues, between whom you share ArcGIS Pro files, upgrade to ArcGIS Pro 3.0 at the same time.

Considering that collaboration is simplified when colleagues are on the same major version, organizations may plan to simultaneously migrate all of their instances of ArcGIS Pro 2.x to 3.0.

Your critical workflows

ArcGIS Pro's Software Development group invests heavily in quality and eliminating bugs. Millions of automated tests run on a near-continuous basis with new tests added daily, code is reviewed by software developers and automated analyzers, and holistic testing events are conducted throughout each development cycle. Nonetheless, the risk of introducing bugs that interrupt your workflows cannot be completely removed.

Generally, major releases carry the most risk of introducing bugs because extensive changes are made to the codebase. Minor releases carry less risk. Patch releases are the safest of the three because their targeted purpose is to fix bugs.


In semantic versioning, ArcGIS Pro 3.0 is considered a major release. See Releases and patches for more information.

As a user, encountering a bug can take time and cause frustration, especially when a critical workflow is broken. Rolling back an upgrade may be required in that situation. Some organizations mitigate this risk by doing either or both of the following:

  • Installing the new software in a test environment and certifying important workflows before rolling it out to the entire organization.
  • Migrating to the next major release only after a subsequent patch or minor release is also available.

Working between ArcGIS Pro 2.x and 3.0

When the people you collaborate with can't migrate to ArcGIS Pro 3.0 at the same time, you will need to know what can and can't be shared between ArcGIS Pro 2.x and 3.0. The following sections provide those details and other related information.

General recommendations

  • Create backups or project packages in situations where you are collaborating with other organizations or team members who are still using ArcGIS Pro 2.x.
  • For sharing, you can continue to share to ArcGIS Enterprise or ArcGIS Server 10.9.1 or earlier from ArcGIS Pro 3.0, though the content may be downgraded. Use ArcGIS Pro 3.0 with ArcGIS Enterprise 11 to use new functionality.


  • Projects and project templates (.aprx, .ppkx, and .aptx files) saved with any version of ArcGIS Pro 2.x can be opened and used by both ArcGIS Pro 2.x and 3.0. However, projects and project templates saved using ArcGIS Pro 3.0 cannot be opened by ArcGIS Pro2.x.
  • Project packages can be created in 3.0 and then opened as a project in 2.x.
  • You cannot save a copy of an ArcGIS Pro 3.0 project that can be opened with any 2.x version of ArcGIS Pro. If a project is saved with a recent version of ArcGIS Pro, such as 2.9, it can be opened with previous versions of ArcGIS Pro 2.x, such as 2.0, but the project will be downgraded in a manner appropriate for the previous version.
  • If the current project was originally created with ArcGIS Pro 2.x, a warning appears before changes are saved in 3.0. If you proceed, the version of the project will be changed to 3.0, and ArcGIS Pro 2.x will not be able to open it. If the project is shared, consider saving a copy of the project that is specific to ArcGIS Pro 2.x using Save As. 1.x projects can also still be opened.
  • The structure of contents within the project file is unchanged between 2.x and 3.0.
  • User configuration settings are carried over.


  • Map, layer, reports, and layout files (.mapx, .lyrx, .rptx, and .pagx files) cannot be opened in 2.x once they are created or saved in 3.0.
  • Map documents are in JSON at 3.0. At 2.x and earlier, they are created in XML.
  • Globe service layers are not supported at 3.0. It is recommended that you republish the original layer to a supported service, such as map service or feature service. For projects using a globe service for elevation, the default Esri Terrain 3D service can be used.


  • Web styles will be downgraded with earlier versions but can still be published.
  • Only styles compatible with the previous version will be published.
  • Styles can be upgraded to 3.0. When the upgrade process happens, a backup copy of the 2.x style is made.
  • 2.x styles can still be opened as read only, and can only be edited if they are upgraded to 3.0.
  • Read-only styles can be upgraded from the catalog view.
  • Mobile styles will be read only for 2.x and editable once they are upgraded to 3.0.


  • Pictures in layouts are stored differently starting at ArcGIS Pro 3.0. Project packages are needed to see pictures in earlier versions.


  • Geoprocessing tools for packaging create packages that allow you to collaborate with other team members using earlier versions of ArcGIS Pro.
  • Packages you create using the commands on the Share ribbon, such as layers, map, and project packages will contain 2.x and 3.0 content.


  • Web layers and services are shared with content compatible with the target server. This means that it is not necessary to move to ArcGIS Enterprise 11 to update to ArcGIS Pro 3.0. When sharing to ArcGIS Enterprise or ArcGIS Server 10.9.1 or earlier, newer content may be downgraded. When sharing to ArcGIS Enterprise 11.0, web layers and services will contain newer content available at ArcGIS Pro 3.0.
  • When creating a service definition that contains server connection information, the .sd file will contain content that matches the server version.
  • When creating a connection-neutral offline service definition file, you need to specify the target server version (10.9.1 or earlier, 11.0 or later, or ArcGIS Online) to ensure that the file contains content compatible with your server version.
  • Mobile map packages can be opened in both ArcGIS Pro 2.x and 3.0.


  • Datasets created in 3.0 may not be compatible with prior releases.
  • For information on geodatabases, see Client and geodatabase compatibility, which will be updated when 3.0 is released.
  • Attribute rules created in 3.0 are not compatible with 2.x.

Data types

  • Annotation created or updated to 3.0 does not work with 2.x.
  • Dimensions created or updated to 3.0 do not work with 2.x.
  • Utility networks and trace networks created in 3.0 do not work with 2.x.


  • Both the Create Address Locator and Standardize Addresses are removed at 3.0. Scripts or models that reference the Create Address Locator tool need to be updated to use the new tools: Create Locator and Create Feature Locator. Scripts or models that reference the Standardize Address tool need to be updated to use the Split Address Into Components tool, which will be available at 3.0. For more information, see the deprecation notices for Create Address Locator and Standardize Addresses.
  • Locators created with the Create Address Locator tool are removed at 3.0, and cannot be added to ArcGIS Pro at 3.0 or later. You can get details about the locator to create replacement locators with the Create Locator tool or Create Feature Locator tool.
  • Before upgrading to 3.0, determine which locators were built with the Create Address Locator tool and create them again. To determine if the locator was created with the Create Address Locator tool, as well as the reference data, field mapping, and the settings that were used, open the locator properties in ArcGIS Pro 2.9 or earlier and click the About the locator tab. If Style Release is listed with a 10.x number, then the locator was created with the Create Address Locator tool. If Release is listed with a 2.x number, then the locator was created with the Create Locator tool or Create Feature Locator tool.

Data management

  • Map-based Reviewer rules are removed at 3.0 and are no longer available for use. It is recommended that you migrate automated review workflows to Data Reviewer capabilities available in attribute rules. Opening or saving a map document (.aprx) at 3.0 removes all the existing map rules from the document.


  • Custom ArcGIS toolbox files (.atbx) are created by default in 3.0 and are compatible with 2.9.
  • Custom legacy toolbox files (.tbx) are read only at 3.0. Existing .tbx files and their tools are read only at 3.0, but will continue to work without any required changes. To make any changes to a tool, you will need to copy the tool to an .atbx file.
  • Toolboxes can be packaged in 3.0 to maintain compatibility with previous 2.x versions.
  • Tools and toolboxes from 2.x can be upgraded by copying and pasting them into an .atbx file.


  • At ArcGIS Pro 3.0, the Python xlrd library is upgraded from version 1.2.0 to version 2.0.1. The 2.0.1 version of xlrd no longer supports reading or writing of Microsoft Excel .xlsx files. To work with .xlsx files use the openpyxl or pandas library.
  • Arcpy.mp scripts written in ArcGIS Pro 2.x will continue to work in 3.0, however, the CIM version must be updated to access the version 3.0 CIM. For more information, see Python CIM access.


  • Task items saved as .esriTasks files in cannot be opened in ArcGIS Pro 2.x once they are saved in 3.0.
  • ArcGIS Pro 2.x .esriTasks files can be opened in 3.0 and are upgraded once the project is saved.
  • Task items created with 3.0 do not work with ArcGIS Pro 2.x.


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