Connect to Folder... it's time to get rid of it

06-24-2015 11:54 AM
Status: Open
by Anonymous User
Not applicable

Connect to Folder.  We all know we have to explain it to new users. It makes no sense.

The My Computer is what should be "connected". It should use the standard Windows Open dialogue and everything (every drive, partition, etc) should already be "connected". Now, if the user wants to bookmark certain folders lower in the hierarchy of course they should be able to. Maybe rename it "Bookmarks" or Favorites. Something more user-recognizable and that connotes ESRI has changed the UI to what the rest of the world uses.

I have never seen another app that needs to "connect" to drive, that are already "connected" to the OS. If the OS has a drive mounted, its root directory should be "connected" to ArcGIS automatically. In other words, let's say I have a C drive and D drive. Two internal hard drives. The first time I start ArcGIS, there should be three folder connections. My Computer, the C:/ and the D:/.   In fact it may even be useful to have their Desktops connected by default and the current users' User folder.

I have been wanting to file this idea since like 2002. I searched and didn't see this, apologies if this is a duplicate! What does everyone think?

I think it's a great idea but one that I can't see being implemented.
I don't like this idea.  I really like the connect to folder option because it keeps the ArcCatalog dialog clean and easier to navigate quickly to what you want to connect to.  Especially when you have multiple drives on a system network and hundreds of possible folders.

And it is easer for my new clients who I set up to not have to try and remember where their data is.

And besides that you can do a one time  Connect to Folder to the root of your C: drive and it will then look just like windows explorer.
I agree with rborchert completely, this is not a good idea! 
also... connect to folder can be further leveraged in adding UNC network paths of my choice.
As also mentioned, if one is wanting on having everything show up (which I cant think of any benefit in doing so) one can just add the root drive. 

kmsagis‌ Have you started working in ArcGIS Pro yet?  There are some differences in folder connection behavior, notably that Computer, Desktop, Documents, and any root folders are automatically connected to from the Add Folder Connections dialog and the Add Data dialog boxes.

In the screenshots below, I haven't had to make connections, they're just there.

Add Folder Connection dialog

Add Data dialog

I think that this, combined with the use of Favorites that are coming out in Pro 2.0, will provide the experience you're looking for.  Make sure to look into Favorites once Pro 2.0 is out later this month.


I also disagree - the "connect to folder" feature allows me to keep a workspace organized and allows quick access to the various data sources I need from my local disk and from my file servers.  I do however wish it was possible to add a connection to the root drive letter, that does not appear to be possible in ArcGIS Pro like it was in ArcMap.  Screenshot:


Isn't this what Windows folder shortcuts are for? ArcGIS Desktop has never supported folder shortcuts or the standard windows application file system navigation. 

Either way why not have both options?

  • Add support for Windows folder shortcuts for those who already have a folders of places they want to go and can share with users.
  • Keep the connect to folder for those who want the project style connections
by Anonymous User

Ronnie - Well said have both options as workflows.

KKramer-esristaffThanks that sounds like it will do the trick! I will indeed check it out.


As I see it's not Folder Connections that's the problem, it's managing the connections. Some small improvements that I think would make a big difference:

  • Open {here} in Windows Explorer
  • Show (and follow) Window shortcuts by default (also see )
  • The ability to navigate to a new place that isn't already a connection! This is my biggest recurring annoyance with current setup. I'm not sure what the interface would be, but one possibility is to use the ".." for navigating to parent folder.
  • Use a different icon set than Windows Explorer (to make it apparent that Folder Connections are actually quite different from Windows Folders)

7-Zip's "Show .. item" option:

7-zip show .. item

Open {here} in Explorer:

Simulated "open here" context menu and toolbar button


From your screen shot, I'm assuming that in 2.0, the restriction from connecting to the root of any networked or OS drive has been removed? 


Those folders are automatically available in the dialog boxes like Add Data and Add Folder Connection.  The user doesn't have to make a connection to the root.