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Catalog View: contents pane should show contents

06-30-2022 08:23 AM
Status: Open
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Frequent Contributor II

Revised idea: expand containers to show their contents in the catalog's contents pane. This provides a quicker navigation and browsing experience more similar to ArcCatalog and the catalog pane. It would also allow for easier previewing of items by virtue of the fact that the preview portion of the view can be resized over the contents area without having to constantly resize it just to reselect something different--something especially beneficial on small screens--even better would be a reversion to ArcCatalog's treatment of these preview panes as separate tabs in addition and not alongside the larger contents view, as they frequently slow down the application by trying to generate a preview, table, or description for everything you click when this is often undesirable. I suspect this slowdown is why ArcCatalog was designed like that in the first place. An improvement over ArcCatalog, though, would be to keep Preview separated into two tabs, geography and table, as has already been accomplished. However, this reversion to a main contents tab will not be possible if contents are not made visible in the contents pane.

In practice, it's confusing for the user to have to remember that they can't access the contents when browsing given that the contents of folders do appear in visually similar places like the catalog pane, the catalog view, and ArcCatalog. And ... it's called the contents pane.

Original idea: Allow for Layouts and Locators folders to be expanded like every other folder in the Catalog Contents pane.




Hello @wayfaringrob,

Thank you very much for your feedback.

Catalog views in ArcGIS Pro are designed to provide the same browsing experience in Windows File Explorer, with the TOC pane (corresponding to the left pane in the File Explorer) showing only containers (including all levels of sub containers).  When you click a container in the TOC, their immediate children items are displayed in the contents list.  The individual layouts are not containers (they do not have children), therefore they do not appear in the TOC, and therefore the Layouts project container is not expandable in the TOC. The same is true for several other project containers such as Reports, Tasks, Locators.

The Catalog pane in Pro, on the other hand, offers a different browsing experience by showing leaf level items as well , so the Layers project container there can be expanded to show layers.

I hope this clarifies the functionality of catalog views for you.


@NaicongLi  I'm not sure we're on the same page. I'm just requesting that the TOC's layout and locators folders open like all the other folders do. Please see the screenshot.


Hi  @rburke-bsrc,

I am assuming that by "expanding Layouts", you wanted to see the list of layouts under the Layouts project container ("Layout folder" in your comment) when you click the expander on Layouts in the catalog view TOC, similar to when you click the expander on the Maps project container , you would see the list of maps under Maps.  Please let me know if I am misunderstand your request.

In ArcGIS Pro, maps and layouts are different in terms of whether they are container items in Catalog windows.  Maps are containers themselves - they contain layers. When you click a map in the catalog view TOC, you see its layers in the catalog view contents list.  And when the catalog view contents list is displaying a list of maps, if you double click a map, you will browse into it to see its layers.  Layouts, on the other hand, are not containers - when you double click a layout in the catalog view contents list, you cannot browse into it to see its contents.

The catalog view is designed to have similar browsing behavior as Windows File Explorer - the TOC only displays container items, therefore you will see maps (under Maps), but not layouts under Layouts.  This is consistent with how the File Explorer displays things in its navigation pane on the left - it would display only containers such as folders and sub folders, but not non containers items such as Word files under a folder.

I hope this explanation helps.  And again, thank you for your feedback.


@NaicongLi  yes, thank you for clarifying. You are correct on my request, the current system doesn't make much sense to me. I understand how it works now from the software engineering perspective. From a user perspective, it just seems like things are effectively broken or incomplete, since some objects expand and other don't. The way maps are handled is also just bizarre to me, but that's for another idea. More broadly, in ArcCatalog, the tree expands everything and show you contents right there, so I think that's at the heart of the request, then - make catalog view function more like ArcCatalog, which works great. The catalog pane expand everything, so it would make sense if the catalog tree/contents did as well.


Another major headache with this: since there's no way to select contents despite it being called the contents pane (go figure), you have to constantly resize the preview pane when flipping between and viewing different datasets just to get a decent look at it - you have to drag the divider just to switch between looking at the all detail columns of the folder and the preview.

The setup in ArcCatalog was just fine, I don't know why Esri had to go messing with it.



Productivity nightmare: