Export Layout to Project Folder

02-02-2021 07:11 AM
Status: Under Consideration
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New Contributor III

Currently ArcGIS Pro default export location is the last place something was exported to globally.  This should be set to the last place something was exported to for each project, similar to ArcMap. The default should be the project folder.

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Status changed to: Open

Thank you for your idea.  This has come up before and it is something we are investigating.  An interim solution was we changed the export dialog so you have easy, single-click access to the project folder in the browse dialog.

Would you be satisfied with project level path or would you want each layout to remember its saves output path?  Other settings?  For example, one layout your always save to PDF, another layout TIF, etc.

Jeff - Layout and arcpy.mp teams


Strongly agree that this functionality should be a priority. Having to reset this every time we change projects is aggravating and leads to exported files ending up in the wrong locations. To @JeffBarrette question above, project-level file paths make more sense to me than layout-level file paths, as in our workflows a given deliverable often includes several layouts that need to be compiled in a folder.


@tbpf thanks for your comments.  I do want to follow up though.  Obviously people have different needs and that is what makes this more complicated.  Defaulting to the Project root doesn't necessarily prevent you from having to browse every time.  For example, if you have an OUTPUT folder under your project folder, perhaps that is what you would like to have remembered specific to all layouts in the project.  And if a project is large enough, it is possible some layouts might want to get exported to different locations.  Do you see any harm in persisting at the layout level?  If all layouts are going to the same place anyway, I don't see the harm.




@tbfp  totally agree, this little detail is catastrophic in practice and we also are constantly exporting our maps to the wrong projects and having to hunt them down. Many GIS professionals are juggling several unrelated projects at a time, which makes this setting (and the persistence of panes) really frustrating.

I would suggest defaulting to the project folder on the first export. That way, if that's someone's preference - great. Click export and be done. If they want to change that, they can, and the layout should remember that location for next time - not the application. I could also see a case being made for using that user-defined location as the default for any subsequent layout exports within the project, and then each of those layouts retaining their own location once set - but that could get thorny quickly. There could also just be a part of settings where the user can set their preference - remember export location at the layout, project, or application level.

As far as having different layouts export in different formats - perhaps some sort of 'preset' or 'favorites' functionality could help for those that would like that.


the original intention of the idea was to mimic arcmap export rules, which for each mxd would bring you to the last place you exported from that mxd. 

Unfortunately the idea implemented in pro uses a global setting.  So the most recent export location from any project you last worked on is being used, very confusing.


ArcGIS Pro options are very helpful most of the time when working in a project. You may define project home folders, default geodatabases, default toolboxes, and save locations, but none of them affect where your layout is saved by default. Many of us work on multiple projects at a time and we share frustration when exporting a map and it defaults to the last exported location, no matter if it is related to the current project. I suggest that ESRI makes better use of the Home folder system and default all exports to the default Home folder for a given project. It is annoying to export a map to the wrong folder because it is pointing to the location of a different project.


Would Esri add a folder inside the Default folder of the project like this;

  • PDF
  • Tiff
  • Excel
  • Mobile Maps
  • etc.

And when these files are exported, they always go here?

Two other options could be to save to the Document folder and the Desktop.





@JeffBarrette  I have no objection to layout-level persistence, so long as layouts default to the project folder or a logical subfolder thereof the first time they are exported. What needs to be eliminated is defaulting to the last folder used globally, which may have a non-descriptive name like "Export", "PDFs" or similar and which a user can easily export to without realizing they're exporting to a completely wrong project file. In a consulting context with many simultaneous projects this is a not-uncommon error for junior (and occasionally experienced!) staff to make, resulting in other team members being unable to find project outputs and/or using old and incorrect versions. 

Status changed to: Under Consideration

@SWM_Halphen  I agree - if we're going to have these folder structures that are supposed to hold all our project materials at least by default, it would make sense if they, well, held all our project materials at least by default.

And @MichelleWilliamsERM  - that's a great idea, or even just an "Exports" folder and we could customize the structure from there.




The next hurdle would be making sure that you can open these exports in the appropriate application (the Windows default) from Pro. I've proposed this for .txt files, but now that I think of it, you can manually add any type of file to ArcCatalog and I'm not aware of a way to do this in Pro.