ArcGIS Pro Project Notes Window

05-19-2021 01:51 PM
Status: Open
Labels (1)
New Contributor III

It would be great to have a place in ArcGIS Pro to record notes and documentation about a project. It could be as simple as a notepad-like space in a separate window, accessed in the View ribbon. Notes could be typed in and double as a running history of the project. We often have multiple users accessing the same .aprx, and it would be helpful for them to record what they did, and why they did it, for the next user. It would also be helpful when you open a project two years later and try to remember what exactly happened. Separate Word or notepad files can always be made and put into the project folder, but once you start adding additional programs someone has to open, they are less likely to actually do it. With the current ArcGIS Pro architecture, it seems like it could be easily implemented as an additional window.


How about a notebook in Pro

Notebooks in ArcGIS Pro—ArcGIS Pro | Documentation

You can use Markdown for documentation and export to a variety of formats.

Your notebooks are available with the project and for others


Yes, thanks, that is a possible solution. Ideally it would have more of a text box structure to it (like what I'm typing into here for this), but a markdown would work as a place to jot down notes.


Hello Eric,

Thank you very much for your suggestion.  Have you tried to use the Description field in the project’s metadata to record such notes?  You can do this in the Catalog view: with the Project node selected in the Contents pane, click the Edit button on the ribbon, Catalog tab:


This will open a metadata view, where you can enter various types of information about this project – title, summary, keywords, description… The Description field offers some simple formatting functionalities, where you can keep your working notes, or any notes about the project (as well as the more formal description for this project).  Click Save and close the metadata view when you are finished editing for the time being (if you just close the metadata view, you will be prompted for any unsaved changes):


Once saved, your notes in the Description (as well as in other metadata fields) will appear in the Catalog view whenever Project is selected in the Contents pane:


Of course this means that, if later you want to share this project externally, you may need to clean up the metadata Description field to delete any notes that you do not want to share externally.

For more information on how to view and edit metadata in ArcGIS Pro, please see .

We would appreciate more feedback from you regarding this topic, about whether using the Description field of the project metadata would satisfy your needs.  Thank you again for your suggestion.



Thanks, I have considered that. We typically try to keep the metadata a little more concise, and my thought was to have a place for a running history of the project, which might tend to get a little long in the metadata. Thanks for replying, though, I appreciate it.

by Anonymous User

This idea involves a plain notebook, similar to MS OneNote, incorporated into an APRX. An extension to the existing notebook pickmenu, such as selecting the Type (Jupyter or Notes) would allow folding into the existing setup, and stored in the same folder.

Background: A few times I have created (or wished for) a  word doc alongside my open APRX to document a process, especially if its experimental. Having the notebook integral to the APRX would keep from having to keep track of a separate document. 

I envision it able to include workflow diagrams such as used in the toolbox, as well as snips (or full) code to be used in the Jupyter. An incorporated notebook would help with multiple people accessing the APRX, such as README's for process or documentation. There are any number of possibilities for its use.

by Anonymous User

This thread is what I was looking for prior to posting my suggestion. After reading all of the comments, the Esri response isn't what I'm looking for.

After exploring  the Project's Metadata feature, the fact it can not stay open alongside a workspace limits its usability for me.

As a workaround I'm considering a Layout with text boxes and just titling it Project Notes, README, or whatever I need for it to do.

Even a ModelBuilder workspace could be used for this purpose and would allow visual workflows even if the tools are not incorporated.



As a workaround I'm considering a Layout with text boxes and just titling it Project Notes, README, or whatever I need for it to do.

I sometimes put my notes directly in a layout text box and call it README, making sure I save the project with it visible. Otherwise, I am putting my notes in a .txt or .docx in the project folder. It would be nice to have a way to open notes right in the project though, maybe in a pane that corresponds to the active view; a comment thread of sorts like in  Google docs. Having it hidden in the catalog metadata is a little clunky. I want the notes to hit my future users (even if it's me) in the face.



Idea: Have a notes pane available for use that would save project notes directly in Pro. 

I had this idea today when I had multiple layers that I needed to note whether labels needed to be turned on, as well as what labels still needed to be formatted. The addition of a notes pane would be a great usability feature within Pro.  

There are two "workarounds" if you want to keep notes directly in your pro project. 

- Adding a model builder and utilizing the labels to keep notes




- creating a feature class and only having a field for notes. 


However, neither of these are very user-friendly. The model builder option does not allow for easily adding line breaks, and you can not dock this on the side panes similar to contents or attributes.

Using the attribute options allows for docking on the side, but unless you are actively editing a note, you can not see your full text (also the eventual character limits). 


A notes pane could look similar to the sketch up below: 


This can allow for multiple dates of notes and organization. however, this could be limited. 

Notes in a Pro project can be beneficial for projects that are only used every few months/once a year to remind of what steps need to be taken, what fields need to be labeled, turned on, etc. Similarly, any team where multiple people work in a Pro project can benefit from this as notes do not need to be shared and hosted elsewhere.



What about an integration with applications like Microsoft To Do, OneNote, Google Notes, etc.? These applications already perform most of the tasks that is being asked for here, and they are all SaaS based, so if a panel could be created that could be directly connected to one of these applications (like displaying a webpage like an application, similar to how Edge or Chrome can do the same), the notes would exist wherever the user needed them. Just a thought.

by Esri Regular Contributor

This seems an interesting idea and discussion. Although I am an internal member I share the same needs. 🙂

Other than the above examples of using resources to write notes, I just want to mentione another place where I keep some quick notes with my project - the Bookmarks.  Obviously bookmarks are not user-friendly enough if you need to write complicated nodes with graphics or other components, but I can write and organize some simple notes as bookmarks with descriptions and put them in bookmark folders. They are saved with my projects/maps. Again I am not suggesting this to satisfy your needs for writing rich notes but a small tip for taking advantage of the bookmarks.  🙂