Toolbox history topics

At every release, Esri introduces new tools and enhances existing tools. These changes provide solutions to problems that were difficult to solve in previous releases and improves tools and make them easier to use.

The documentation for each toolbox in ArcGIS includes a toolbox history topic that details changes made to tools at every release. For an example, see Analysis toolbox history. A table is provided for each tool that provides information on the historical development of the tool. The following includes information about the types of changes cataloged in the history topics.

  • Tool origins
    • New at this version—The bottom row of each tool table typically contains the release at which the tool was first introduced.
    • Ported from ArcMap—If you're transitioning from ArcMap to ArcGIS Pro, you may need to know whether a tool in ArcMap is also available in ArcGIS Pro. The majority of tools found in ArcMap 10.3 were made available in ArcGIS Pro 1.0. If the tool originated in ArcMap, this information will typically be found in the bottom row of the table.
  • Parameter information
    • New and removed parameters—A new parameter is almost always added to the end of a tool's parameters to ensure backward compatibility is maintained in scripts.

      The removal of parameters is rare. Scripts that use the removed parameter will need to be updated, but models should continue to run.

    • Options—A parameter option is a string keyword that affects how a tool works. For example, the join_attributes parameter of the Intersect tool has three options: ALL, NO_FID, and FID_ONLY. New options appear occasionally from release to release, and options may be removed. An option introduced in a later version (such as 10.4) cannot be used in an earlier version (such as 10.3).

      In rare cases, a keyword will be removed and replaced with a similar option, such as Euclidean distance replaced with EUCLIDEAN_DISTANCE. In cases like this, the tool is programmed to accept either option and backward compatibility is not broken.

    • Default value changes—Optional parameters often have a default value—the value that will be used unless you change it. If there is a change to a parameter's default value, it may affect your existing models and scripts.
    • Type changes—The data type of a parameter defines the permissible values the parameter will accept, such as the type of datasets (features, tables, networks, and so on). If a data type is removed at a version, it means that the parameter no longer accepts the data type. You may have to change your models and scripts if they use the removed data type.
    • Order—New parameters are almost always added as the last parameter and don't affect the order of existing parameters. In rare cases, the order of existing parameters may change, and scripts that use positional arguments may break. Instead of using positional arguments, you can use keyword arguments as shown below. Models will still run as they are not dependent on parameter order.
      # Positional arguments - skipping optional arguments using empty strings is dependent on 
      # the order of the optional parameters"schools", "school_id", "LONG", "", "", "", "", "NON_NULLABLE")
      # Keyword arguments - position doesn't matter"schools", "school_id", "LONG", field_is_nullable="NON_NULLABLE")
    • Name case—The name of a parameter may change case, for example, from In_Features to in_features. This change only affects scripts that use keyword arguments. In Python, keyword arguments are case sensitive.
    • Type—The type of a parameter may change from required to optional or from optional to required. Changing from optional to required may affect existing workflows.
  • Licensing and extensions
    • Tool licensing and extension—A licensing or extension change may affect existing workflows.
  • Deprecation
    • Deprecation—A deprecated geoprocessing tool is a tool that has been replaced by other tools. The tool remains in ArcGIS Pro, but no further development is performed on it.

      Learn more about deprecated tools


Esri strives to maintain backward compatibility. That is, models and scripts created in a prior release should continue to work in most cases. In rare cases, compatibility changes may occur due to the new functionality being introduced. The following includes cases where backward compatibility may break:

  • If a parameter was removed, workflows that used the parameter will no longer work.
  • If a parameter option was removed, workflows that used the option may no longer work. In many cases, the option that was removed is replaced by another option and the tool knows what to do if the previous option was specified.
  • If a parameter had a data type removed and your workflow used inputs of that data type, the old workflow will not work in the new version.
  • A license change may affect your workflow. Most license changes are downward (from Desktop Advanced to Desktop Standard, for example), which will not affect backward compatibility.
  • An extension requirement change may affect your workflow. Extension changes that affect existing workflows are rare.
  • If a parameter's default value changed, it may affect your workflow. You'll need to examine your existing workflows to determine the effect of the default value change.
  • If the order of parameters changed, scripts that use positional arguments may break.

In this topic
  1. Compatibility