A layer can be saved with its data as a layer package (.lpkx). A layer package includes both the layer properties and the dataset referenced by the layer. With a layer package, you can save and share everything about the layer—its symbology, labeling, field properties, and associated data.
Other users are able to add layer packages directly into their maps without needing to access the database or set layer properties. While a layer package will be larger in size than a layer file because it includes the data, other users will not need to worry about access to your data sources.
Additionally, a layer can be saved as a schema-only layer package. This type of package allows you to share your layer design and the corresponding data model design without sharing your data. When you unpack a schema-only layer package, the data model for the layers is loaded into the project's default geodatabase. You can then load your own datasets for the layers in that geodatabase.
For a finer degree of control over how data is packaged, you can use the Package Layer geoprocessing tool. For example, you can specify that only data within the current map extent is packaged.
Create a layer package
- Select the layers you want to package in the Contents pane.
- On the Share tab, in the Package group, click Layer . Alternatively, right-click the selected layers, point to the Sharing menu, and click Share As Layer Package . The Package Layers pane appears.
- Specify where to save your package, either to your online account or as a file on disk.
- Provide the name and, if saving the package to a file, the location for your new package on disk.
- Complete the Summary and Tags fields.
You can enter a maximum of 128 tags.
- Check the Include Enterprise and UNC Path Data check box if you want to extract data from an enterprise geodatabase or UNC path data to a file geodatabase. If this option is not checked, map layers continue to reference enterprise geodatabase data and UNC path data.
- If you are uploading your package to an online account, use the Folder menu to specify where the package will be stored in your portal content. The package is stored in the root of your content by default. Optionally, click the Browse button to create a folder or choose an existing one. You can also type the name of the desired folder in the text box.
- If you are uploading your package to an online account, specify how it will be shared:
- Everyone—This option makes your content public. Anyone can access and see it.
- My Organization—If you are signed in with an organizational account, you see this option. This option allows your content to be shared with all authenticated users in the organization.
- Groups—You can share your content with groups you belong to and their members.
Leave all options unchecked to set the sharing level to the owner of the item.
- Add the items you want to include to Attachments. This option allows you to include other content, such as detailed documentation, reports, and graphs. The following types of files cannot be included: .js, .vbs, .py, .pyc, .pyo, .bat, and .ocx. Also, only signed .dll and .exe files are allowed.
- Under Finish Sharing, click Analyze to review for problems.
Errors and warnings are listed on the Messages tab. Right-click a message to open its help topic or take corrective action in the software. Errors must be resolved before you can share your GIS resource. Resolving warnings is recommended but not required.
- Once it's validated, click Package to create your package.
Create a schema-only layer package
The Package Schema Only option allows you to share a layer without its data.
The steps for creating a schema-only layer package are the same as those outlined above for saving a layer data package, except you choose the Package Schema Only option to create a schema-only layer package.
See Add layers and layer packages to a map to learn how to unpack your layer package.