There are several ways to open an ArcGIS Pro project, including the following:
- Open a project from the list of recent projects maintained by ArcGIS Pro.
- Browse to a project stored on your computer or a network drive.
- Browse to or search for a project package in your active portal.
- Configure ArcGIS Pro to open a specific project on startup.
You can open more than one project at a time. Each project opens in a separate instance of ArcGIS Pro.
The same project can be opened in multiple instances of ArcGIS Pro. For example, if a project is stored on a network drive, different people can have it open at the same time. However, only the project opened in the first instance is writable—the others are read-only. Similarly, a project opened from a read-only location is read-only. A project's read-only status is indicated in the application window title bar.
In a read-only project, you can make changes to maps, layouts, charts, and other items stored in the project file (.aprx); however, to save these changes, you must save the project with a new name. Changes made to items stored outside the project file, such as edits to datasets or geoprocessing models, can be saved from a read-only project.
A project (.aprx) or project package (.ppkx) that is saved in any version of ArcGIS Pro is compatible with all later versions. Learn more about compatibility with earlier versions.
Open a recent project
When you start ArcGIS Pro, you see a list of up to 50 recent projects. If you can't see the entire name or path of a project in the list, you can hover over it to see its name, modification date, and path in a pop-up.
- Go to the Recent Projects list in either of the following ways:
- Start ArcGIS Pro. The start page appears.
- From an open project, click the Project tab on the ribbon. In the list of side tabs, click Open.
- Optionally, click the Tiles button to display recent projects as tiles.
- Click the project you want to open.
Work with the list of recent projects
You can work with the list of recent projects in several ways:
- Find a project—Type a text string in the search box to find projects that include the string in their name. Only the list of recent projects is searched.
- Sort projects—By default, projects appear in the order of their access date, with the most recently opened project at the top. The list can be sorted by project name or modification date. (A project is accessed if it is opened; it is modified if it is saved with changes.)
- Display projects in List view or Tiles view with thumbnail images.
- Pin a project—Hover over a project and click Pin above the modification date to pin the project to the top of the list.
- Remove a project—Right-click a project and click Remove Project From List . If you try to open a project that no longer exists at the path shown, ArcGIS Pro prompts you to remove it from the list.
- Browse to a project's location on disk—Right-click a project and click Show In File Explorer .
- Remove all projects from the list—Right-click a project and click Clear Recent Projects.
Open another project
If the project you want to use is not in the Recent Projects list when you start ArcGIS Pro, you can browse to its location on your local computer, a network computer, or a portal.
Projects can only be stored in a portal as project packages. When a project is opened from a portal, the package is downloaded to your computer and unpacked before the project opens. By default, project packages are unpacked in the <User Documents>\ArcGIS\Packages folder. You can change this location in the Share and download options.
Open a project from the start page
You can open a project from the ArcGIS Pro start page.
- On the ArcGIS Pro start page, next to the list of recent projects, click Open another project .
The Open Project dialog box appears.
- Browse to or search for the
project you want to open.
You can search for project packages stored in a portal or browse to them. You can browse to projects stored on a local or network drive, but you can't search for them.
When you search for a project in your portal, you can widen the search box by dragging the edge of the Open Project dialog box. You can also drag the gap between the Refresh button and the Sort button at the top of the dialog box.
- Click the project.
- Click OK.
Once the project is opened, it is added to the Recent Projects list and to the ArcGIS Pro jump list on the Windows taskbar if this option is enabled on your computer. It is the project file (.aprx) that is added to the list, even when you open a project package.
Open a project from the settings page
You can open a project from the ArcGIS Pro settings page.
- Go to the settings page in either of the following ways:
- On the start page, click the Settings tab .
- In an open project, click the Project tab on the ribbon.
- In the list of side tabs, click Open.
- On the Open page, open a project in one of these ways:
- If the project appears in the Recent Projects list, click the project to open it.
- Otherwise, click Open another project . On the Open Project dialog box, browse to or search for the project you want. Click the project to select it and click OK.
- If you are prompted to save changes to a currently open project, click Yes to save changes or No to discard changes. Click Cancel if you decide not to open another project.
The currently open project closes and the selected project opens. Once opened, it is added to the recent projects list if not already present.
Always open the same project
If you regularly work with the same project, you can set ArcGIS Pro to open this project automatically on startup.
- Open the ArcGIS Pro settings page in either of the following ways:
- On the ArcGIS Pro start page, click the Settings tab .
- In an open project, click the Project tab on the ribbon.
- In the list of side tabs, click Options.
The Options dialog box appears.
- On the Options dialog box, under the Application heading, click the General tab.
- Click the Start ArcGIS Pro heading.
- Click the With a default project option.
- Type or paste the path to the project that you want to open. Alternatively, click Browse and browse to the project.
- Click OK.
The next time you start ArcGIS Pro, the specified project opens immediately. The start page does not appear.
Open a project from the file system
You can open a project from the file system in various ways depending on your computer's operating system and your personal preferences. The following list provides some options:
- Browse to the location of the project you want to open and double-click the project (.aprx) or project package (.ppkx) file.
- Search for a project (.aprx) or project package (.ppkx) file on the local computer. Double-click the file in the search results to open it.
- If there is a project you work with frequently, create a shortcut to the project or project package file and place the shortcut on your computer's desktop. Double-click the shortcut to start ArcGIS Pro and open the project.
- The operating system may keep a list of project or project package files that have recently been opened by ArcGIS Pro. For example, if the application is pinned to the Microsoft Windows taskbar, you'll see the list when you hover over the ArcGIS Pro icon; click a project or project package file to open it.
If ArcGIS Pro is already running, the current project remains open and the selected project opens in a new instance of ArcGIS Pro.
You can also open some other file types created with ArcGIS Pro from the file system, including the following:
- Map files (.mapx)
- Layout files (.pagx)
- Layer files (.lyrx)
- Map packages (.mpkx)
- Layer packages (.lpkx)
When you double-click one of these files, ArcGIS Pro starts without a project template. For map files, layout files, and map packages, the maps and layouts defined in the files are added to the project. For layer files and layer packages, a map is added to the project, and the layers defined in the files are added to the map.
Do not associate other ArcGIS Pro or ArcMap file types with ArcGIS Pro and try to open them directly from the file system—they will not open successfully. Start ArcGIS Pro and add or import the item to your project.
Update a project opened from the active portal
Projects stored in a portal are downloaded to your computer before they are opened. The default download location is the Documents\ArcGIS\Packages folder in your user profile. Your local copy of the project in the download location is linked to the project package in the portal. If the project package is updated, you are notified the next time you open the project (assuming you are signed in to the portal in which the project package is stored). The notification appears as a blue dot on the notifications button next to your sign-in status at the top of the application.
- Click the Notifications button to open the Notifications pane.
- Hover over a notification indicating a new version of your project is available.
- Optionally, click Show More to see options.
Clicking Open Portal Item opens the project package item page in a browser. The item page may contain information describing the update. Clicking Always dismiss closes the Notification pane and removes the notification indicator. You can use this option if you don't want to update the project.
- Click Update Project.
The current project closes. The updated project package is downloaded, unpacked, and opened.
The updated project does not overwrite the earlier project. Both projects are maintained in separate project folders in your <User Documents>\ArcGIS\Packages folder, and both appear in the Recent Projects list.
Open a recovered project
If you back up your projects, you can recover unsaved changes in the event that ArcGIS Pro shuts down unexpectedly. Unsaved changes are recovered up to the time of the most recent backup.
Follow the steps below to open a recovered project after an unexpected application shutdown.
- Start ArcGIS Pro.
- On the start page, open your project from the list of recent projects.
A Project Recovery prompt informs you that the backup project was saved more recently than your original project.
If the prompt does not appear, it means that the original project was saved more recently than the backup project. In this case, unsaved changes cannot be recovered.
- Choose how to proceed.
- Click Yes to open the backup project. Unsaved changes are recovered up to the time stamp of the backup project. The original project is deleted.
- Click No to open the original project. The project state reflects your last manual save. Unsaved changes are lost.
- Click Cancel to dismiss the prompt without opening the project.