Save toolbox to previous version

Geoprocessing allows you to automate workflows using ModelBuilder and the ArcPy package in Python scripts. These automation environments provide different ways to connect datasets with processes (other geoprocessing tools). Toolboxes provide a way to create, store, and run these workflows as tools. These tools and toolboxes can be shared between machines that are running the same version of ArcGIS Pro. However, when a tool is created on one version and run on a different version, compatibility problems may occur.

Backward compatibility

With each new version of ArcGIS Pro, improvements and additions are made to the software. These changes can affect the content of toolboxes as follows:

  • When script and model tools are created, and when edited and saved, information is stored in the toolbox. This information captures all the necessary details about tools, parameters, toolsets, processes, data types, datasets, and ModelBuilder variables, so that when the tool is opened next, it will be consistent with how it was.
  • With each release, existing ArcGIS Pro geoprocessing tools may be enhanced with new parameters and parameter options. These modifications are made in a way to avoid introducing compatibility issues for models and scripts created in previous versions of the software. For example, new parameters are added after the last previously existing parameter.

Forward compatibility

The inverse situation also exists: to use models or script tools created using a later version of ArcGIS Pro. Forward compatibility is more problematic and cannot be done automatically for the following reasons:

  • A particular version of ArcGIS Pro may be unable to read the contents of a toolbox produced by a newer version of ArcGIS Pro since it is unknown how the information written into the toolbox will change. This type of problem typically manifests as models or Python scripts not being visible in the toolbox.
  • Authoring workflows with geoprocessing tools cannot be done in a way that accounts for parameters and parameter options not being present when the tool is used in an earlier release.

Analyze Toolbox For Version and Save Toolbox To Version tools

Backward compatibility does not require any special action; most tools will work in a consistent way when used in a later version of the software. To help with forward compatibility, the Analyze Toolbox For Version and Save Toolbox To Version tools were created. These tools save the toolbox and its contents in a format that can be read by the specified version of ArcGIS Pro. Additionally, the Save Toolbox To Version tool leverages compatibility analyzers for each existing geoprocessing tool. The analyzers identify compatibility issues between the current version of ArcGIS Pro and the target version (for example, the use of a new tool parameter). The Save Toolbox To Version tool also fixes certain compatibility issues found in models (scripts will be unmodified).

Tool access

To access the Save Toolbox To Version tool, right-click a toolbox and select Save Toolbox as Version. Both the Analyze Toolbox For Version and Save Toolbox To Version tools can be accessed in the Geoprocessing pane in the Data Management toolbox.

When using a toolbox created or edited with a later version of the software, it is recommended that you use the Analyze Toolbox For Version and Save Toolbox To Version tools to identify compatibility issues.

Consolidate Toolbox tool

The Consolidate Toolbox tool is similar to the Save Toolbox To Version tool. Both tools take a toolbox as input, analyze it, and create a new toolbox based on the specified version. The Consolidate Toolbox tool also copies all referenced models, script tools, Python modules, and datasets into an output (consolidated) folder, and all path references are updated to point to the data stored in the consolidated folder.