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Additional Folders/ Sub-Folders in My Content

06-20-2013 06:21 AM
Status: Open
by Anonymous User
Not applicable

Allow the users to create sub-folders of more than just one level in "My Content"


Hello everyone! I'm one of the ArcGIS Online Product Managers, and a colleague recently drew my attention to this thread which I see is still active, but hasn't had recent input from the Product Management side.

Nested folders make good sense to my mind; I organize everything in this manner. Even file cabinets have drawers >> dividers >> folders >> tabbed folders. It feels like the natural order of things. 

The good news is: Content Categories achieve the same organizational continuity offered by nested folders. 



In the screenshot above, the Marianne DRP Work has two sub-categories, one of which has its own subcategories. This is analogous to a root folder and the subfolders within. You can make these as sophisticated or as simple as suits your requirements.

I find Content Categories organizes my content as I am accustomed. And I gain flexibility unavailable with subfolders: a single map, app, or layer may be associated with multiple content categories. 

Kelly Gerrow has also written a more in-depth analysis of Content Categories in this blog:

Hope that's helpful, and happy categorizing!



I don't understand why ESRI added categories instead of just using subfolders like everyone seems to want. I will use them though and would like to have the ability to drag the Categories section above the Folders section as I expect they will be my primary navigation tool in AGOL.  


I would like the ability to add subfolders when managing content in ArcGIS Online. For our organization, we have to create seperate folders for each department and put all of the affiliated content in there (webmaps, layers, etc). I would like the ability to create subfolders within the main folder for better organization. It is too cumbersome and clumsy to put everything in one folder and then have to search within it. 


I agree. I know that this is something that's been requested in the past; it was brought up during the User Conference this year. 

I know the intended use is to filter by category, tag, and item type, but it's the equivalent of having all your files taped to the wall with strings connecting them (like a detective in a movie) instead of organized in a cabinet.  Sure, I can pull on one string and see what it brings me, but I'd really prefer to just open the drawer and pull out the right files.

I think the optimal maximum number of folders visible at any time is 5, and if you have more than that, subfolders are necessary. I hate having to scroll through my folders.

Considering that the URL doesn't change when you move items between folders, and therefore won't break any references you have to them, I'm not sure why subfolders haven't been implemented, at least to a total of three levels, e.g.:

  • Projects (Active)
    • Timber Sales
      • FY22 - Eagle Point 
      • FY23 - Grassy Butte
    • Prescribed Burns
  • Projects (Archived)
    • Timber Sales
      • FY21 - Horseshoe Bend

To be clear, I do like how useful the tags/ category system is; I just think there's room for sub-folders for a more reader-friendly experience.


I understand the benefits of Group and Organization Categories. If Categories are the solution to sub-folders, I would like to see the use of Categories at the individual user level, add Categories to my personal Content space.

Organization Categories make a lot of sense to me, but we are a massive higher ed org, categorizing at that level does not make sense and would be a administrative nightmare. How do you train 100s, 1000s of people to organize their Content in this way? Everyone knows how to use sub-folders, that is more intuitive for our novice to expert users.


As others have pointed out, the way esri has implemented Categories allows a lot of potential flexibility, but are essentially useless for the majority of people in an organization because they are not a per-user setting.

Tags, which are per-user are almost useless for organizing because there is no way to apply tags to multiple items at once.

Here is a use case: I have a folder named Campus Accessibility. Over the years we have done some testing, gathered data using different tools, had separate layers that are now combined, etc. etc. What do I do with all the layers that aren't part of the current map?

  • Make a subfolder called "OldStuff" and move it all in there. Job complete. [Doesn't Work]
  • Select all the old files and Categorize them as Campus, Old, Intermediate Data, Deprecated, Facilities, Collector, ArcPad, API Tests, etc.
    • This only works if the organization has created all those categories. Which we don't.
  • Select all the old files and add the appropriate tags (e.g. Campus, Old, Intermediate Data, Deprecated, Facilities, Collector, ArcPad, API Tests, made by soandso, 2017, etc.).
    • I would have to go to the details page of every item and edit the tags individually. Not feasible for 100's of layers (or even a dozen).


Categories are great in addition to subfolders. As @KateCarlson says, even if you could figure out  categories for everyone in the organization, getting people to use them properly is another hurdle. Meanwhile (as @AlfredBaldenweck says) being able to just make a subfolder called "old" or "intermediate files" etc. is immediately understandable AND when I open my project folder I don't have to filter so I can even tell what's current or useful.

Looking at our organization, the reality is that people just keep making new Groups and/or Folders and move the current files to the new folder. So we have 6 folders for the same project, just with a year or month appended to the filename.

Why not ADD the the functionality of tags and categories (and I say tags first because most people understand them intuitively than they do categories) to the basic functionality of sub-folders than offer a "better way" without the time tested method? If the new method is so much better, wouldn't people adopt it on their own without having to be forced to adopt it by not offering a simpler way?


This is still a very relevant idea that would be highly beneficial in keeping data organised (as far as that's possible!) on AGOL


Please add this functionality. To me, it seems like the simplest idea in the book of file/content organization. It isn't tags or categories, just content that you need dropped into another folder, like an "archive" folder or "environmental applications", etc. Thanks!


This idea is imperative for us. 

When considering survey123 Connect. It is a dangerous idea for the "delete" survey button in survey123 Connect to delete the entire contents in the agol folder including all its items? For example, say I have 10  survey123 forms in a single folder names "project 1 surveys" and have the underlaying feature service in another folder names "project 1 data". If I pressed the "delete" button in survey123 it will wipe out the entire folder and contents in "project 1 surveys".

The purpose of putting all surveys into 1 folder is to try and tidy up the folders in AGOL. If I have a folder for each survey then I'd have 10 folders for every project. And there may be 15 projects at a time which equals 150 folders within AGOL. 

Nested folders will solve this problem: 




Chiming in on wanting this functionality. Categories are nigh useless for organizing large amounts of data.