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ArcGIS Pro: Option to Enable Dockable Toolbars and Menus

09-12-2017 10:42 AM
Status: Open
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New Contributor III

Simply put, please provide an option to disable the contextual ribbon, and enable dockable toolbars and menus in their entirety, just like ArcMap.

I have been trialing Pro for a few weeks for the second time since it has come out.  I trialed 1.x, left it, and now 2.0.1.  I have gone through several iterations of Arc since the 3.x days.  I'm not against change, and 64 bit is the future.  However, this round seems too focused on "look and feel", versus efficiency of core workflows.

That said,  the contextual menu may have it's place, but not in my or many of my peers' workflows.  It is just as much of a pain in Office 2016, and I believe a majority will agree.  Ribbons have their place in single display devices with small screens, like laptops and tablets.  I believe ESRI developers have lost touch with how big their software actually is, and how much of the [efficient] core work behind all the "slick" maps gets done at a desktop workstation with multiple monitors.  Without the big work, you don't get "slick" maps for the pseudo "Arc Users" to play around with on their mobile devices.  There's more to "GIS" than turning map layers on an off on a buttery smooth base map service.  Don't forget about the power users behind the scenes.

Some running examples, not including the many missing tools:

1)  The ribbon actually removes more real estate from my map display than a typical dual-monitor docking arrangement of regularly used menus and toolbars.

2)  If I needed a different tool for a less common workflow, the ArcMap method of a single right-click that displayed all potential toolbars, with a check, or not, was magnificently simple and yet robust.  In fact, seeing all the tools was an excellent way to encourage self-teaching of new tools and workflows.  I can't count how many times I had some data or an idea,  and looked at the toolbar list for the best (possibly new) way to get the end result.  Now everything is split up and buried.

3)  With multiple monitors to dock menus and toolbars, ArcMap power users are able to keep regularly used tools "in their place", and instantly select a tool or operation with one click from muscle memory.  The contextual ribbon forced ESRI to split everything up, subdividing it under a limited number of "contexts".  As end users, we are now forced to interpret which "context" the developers felt a certain tool or operation fell under, navigate to that tab, and then frequently now guess which dropdown to use under that tab.  Once the correct tool or operation is found, we must then further navigate additional contexts within a pane or even panes.  Sometimes we even need to navigate multiple contexts for a simple layer property or labeling change.  All extremely inefficient, and oftentimes not intuitive.

That is all for now, but I have two unrelated observations to note:

1) This webpage is responding to mouse and keyboard at about 1 character or click per 3 seconds.  Everything else on my machine, including other websites is extremely fast.  Coincidence?

2)  There is no flag or category for ArcGIS Pro.  Very suspect, considering the popularity of the subject, its focus at the User Conference, and that this is where tech support refers all complaints.


dtschopp‌ You might also review‌ as it relates to your comment about the ribbon taking up real estate.


Very well said and I agree with all of the points @D T has raised. I've spent a little time evaluationg Pro and there are some great new features, but I seem to spend most of my time looking for a tool or button that has been at my fingertips for 10+ years. There is nothing inherently wrong with dockable and customizable toolbars. Ribbons by default are a slower way to work because they often turn a simple single-click task into many click task. For example, while editing if I want to go back to my previous extent I need to click the map ribbon, click the previous extent button, then click the edit ribbon to return to editing tools. In ArcMap the Back button has always been there, right next to the editing tools.

ESRI cannot make the mistake of ignoring the core GIS professionals and their workflows. We are the ones behind the scenes keeping the "lights on" so to speak so that the casual users can create a nice 3D webmap so everyone else can say "cool".

Change isn't bad, but change for the sake of change is. 


While this doesn't fully accomplish the idea, it may help improve your experience: ArcMap-style toolbar for ArcGIS Pro


Drew, very cool! But I can't do something like pictured below. I like to keep my editing tools at the bottom of the screen, and have every tool available, as, I generally use most of them for big projects. Fussing around with ribbon customization has no similarity to the very simple and quick task of turning a toolbar on and dragging it where you want. 


Take note Esri.

Microsofts Boldly Plans to Revert the Ribbon Back to a Toolbar.

Nobody likes the Ribbon UI. We want our toolbars!!!


" Users have a lot of “muscle memory” built around these versions, so we plan on being especially careful with changes that could disrupt their work. "....another "note" that I wish ESRI would "take".......


One thing I find very useful is to customise the ribbon options as below.

This results in a custom Ribbon Tab getting added as below:

I find this quite useful for having my most commonly used tools in one place.


ArcGIS Pro 2.5: Why not to have the model builder tools available while working in the model builder pane?

For example, in the screenshot below, while working with a maximized model builder pane, it would be nice if we still have all the tools available in this pane as it is used to be in ArcMap. This would offer much more flexibility in reaching out the tools

by Anonymous User

Lack of dockable customizable quick access tool bars is the sole thing that prevents me from making the full switch to Pro. Currently, there is only one quick access tool bar on the top of the window. All I want is that, but more of them, and to be able to dock them wherever I want on the screen.


Add a custom Panel into ArcGIS Pro where the users can create groups and add tools to those custom group.


After seriously using Pro over the past few weeks it's becoming evident that a custom tool panel would be very helpful and speed up my use of the software.


I'll give an example of why using the dynamic Ribbon in a number of cases is failing for my use.


Label weights - While in the layout I was looking at my labels and wanted to play with Weights. In order to access this button I have to click on a layer and then go to that Ribbon and then click Weights. In ArcMap the Label Toolbar would always be accessible and the Weights were one click away. 

My solution was to put Weights on the Quick Action Toolbar, but this should not be the real solution of every tool.


So in light of the above an added Panel that users could add tools to and then drag to another part of the screen or pin to the side would save time and reproduce old Toolbars in ArcMap.