Editable MXD Files

06-23-2010 02:05 PM
Status: Open
New Contributor III

Waaaaay back in Arcview 3.x you could open an .apr file in notepad (or VI - mwahaha) and fix it if something happened. Now - you've got squat if your mxd goes south. Heck you can even edit a Quantum GIS project file if something goes wrong....not that I have or would use Quantum GIS - I know a guy who knows a guy who said you could...... . So make the mxd a xml/text based file  you can fix. I want to open my MXD in vim.

Text based files also give you the ability to globally change paths rapidly.
Yes, yes, yes! If I could upvote this a million times I would. ArcGIS explorer uses XML to save files, let's get that feature into ArcMap too! 

we could have the best of both, text for editability and comprehension, and binary for speed and size, by using binary xml.

See http://www.cubewerx.com/bxm, "a straightforward, open, patent-unencumbered binary-encoding format for XML data that is a stand-alone work-alike drop-in replacement for an XML file that mirrors the XML markup structures in a way that is similar to the in-memory representations of many parser libraries." and "Initial testing indicates that CWXML is 3 or more times faster at parsing XML (text data) than other popular libraries such as expat and libxml2 (10x Xerces) and 5 to 60 times faster again at parsing BXML data. The library is being developed by CubeWerx as the reference implementation for the BXML proposed specification."
OR, if not a text file, give us a simple tool that can read and edit a .mxd file in it's current format.
I second, third, fourth, this suggestion.


This would be an easy way to edit things that aren't exposed via arcpy


With ArcGIS Pro working to replace ArcMap in the future maybe this would be something we could suggest for it ArcGIS Pro Project files instead since MXDs may not be around long.