Enable ArcToolbox customization

11-12-2020 06:47 PM
Status: Open
Labels (1)
MVP Esteemed Contributor

ArcToolbox is getting a bit large, often filled with toolsets that you have no intention using and you end up bobble-heading up and down navigating to select your most commonly used tools.

I propose one of two things (or even both)

  1. Enable reordering of the toolsets in ArcToolbox.  They are currently in alphabetical order, not in my useage order
  2. Enable one to toggle off the toolsets that you don't intend to use or use so infrequently that they are just taking up space and providing visual clutter.  This should be done in the project backstage in the same area that you can customize the ribbons to perform a similar function (since the ribbons are a bit cluttered as well)



In Desktop you have always been able to make your own toolboxes and customise them to suit your needs, so you might have one toolbox for spatial geoprocessing, another for statistical analysis, etc.


In Pro, although you can still make new toolboxes, it looks like Esri has deprecated that functionality and they now cannot contain copies of built-in tools, only ones you make yourself (unless you copied the python source and duped them).  The new system appears to be either favouriting a GP tool, or adding it to the analysis banner pane.  You can also add tools directly to the access bar, but none of these appear to be project-based so eventually you will end up with dozens of tools pinned, which may not be what you're looking for.

There's a third option I've seen done quite a bit in Esri demos and I use myself: Search tools history or toolbox.  Just like Windows Start search, throw the first couple of letters in there, then pick the result you want which will be in the top few returned.  In practise I actually find this far faster than bobbling through toolbox names as it learns what I use most frequently.


@AndrewQuee I am familiar with what you are saying, but I am exceptionally adept with the toolbox approach to geoprocessing since it has remained fairly stable through arcmap and Pro, where as buttons/ribbons have been less so. 

I spent a couple of hours stripping out all the "useless to me" stuff from the ribbon interface, but the Pro toolset list is big (and getting bigger if you are on Pro 2.7 Beta).

I use too many tools to have a useful favorites list... I am hoping I can just to

"put the unused tools back in the toolbox, and leave the ones I use on the workbench",

if you catch my drift.

I propose the project backstage to do this so that the casual user doesn't inadvertently toggle off a toolset.  It would have to be a purposeful activity like the current ribbon customization process


It would also be nice if such a config were shareable with others. IE. Import/Export ArcToolbox configuration. Pro reads the config on init, implements it and the user can make changes from there, which will apply edits to the config file. Share that config file with others, they import it and round and round we go.


I have to admit that I had second, third and even fourth thoughts about making suggestions to the legendary @DanPatterson but I thought "well, there might be just the tiniest chance they may not know one of those things (I'm still find ing new features in Pro all the time) and this content may help someone who doesn't know."  The phrase "teaching your grandmother how to suck eggs" comes to mind. 🙂

I agree the way the favourite tools work isn't great - you will get more and more tools on there until you end up with almost a copy of the toolboxes.  I'm not sure why Esri got rid of the ability to build your own custom toolboxes of standard tools, that was actually pretty neat.  Something something feature equivalency, Esri? 😛

As another option, you can create your own toolbars with groups of favourite tools, but this doesn't seem much better than saving them into the GP pane.  I also can't find a way of turning the groups on and off.  I guess you could have one tab per GP toolset but that would lead to tabspam and I don't think that's really what you're looking for.

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It would be nice to be able to customize the Toolbox similar to ArcMap. Some toolboxes will never ever be used by certain users in 1000 years.  Unused toolboxes were removeable in ArcMap...  right click => remove.  That was nice.

And add the functionality to add a custom toolbox to the Geoprocessing/Toolboxes tab.


Good Job Dan,

I read through your suggestions... and find them to be a practical good start.  It seems like the Geoprocessing Toolbox could get a lot more attention from ESRI pertaining to basic organizational functionality.