Make Folder Favorites References Again!

08-21-2021 11:56 AM
Status: Under Consideration
Labels (1)
Occasional Contributor III

Please make folders in Favorites, references again (ref ArcGIS Desktop/Catalog connect to a folder as example).

Here is the scenario I just warned my organization about.

If you are like me and setup connections, folders, etc in your favorites or project in Pro the following is something you need to be aware of!

In ArcGIS Desktop/Catalog, when a folder was added for access within the application it was a reference link to the folder.  For example, in catalog you could create a folder connection to V:\is\work to get access to the work directory.  It would show up in ArcCatalog as V:\is\work and you could rename it be something else like “My Work Files”, but it would always point to V:\is\work.  If you continue that process in ArcGIS Pro, for those of us who have the ability to rename folders, you will rename the actual folder.  It other words, it is not a link to the folder anymore.  It happens throughout Pro regardless if you are in Catalogs’ Project or Favorites tabs.  Example A shows how to initiate the workflow described.

Example A



There is a way around this, but I do not think this is going to work for everyone.  I have also not found any particular setting that stops the behavior either be it a options menu item or registry modification.  Using file explorer, place “%appdata%\Roaming\Esri\ArcGISPro\Favorites” in the file path will take you to the user specific location where favorites are stored.  Withing the directory there is a json file named Favorites.json.  This file can be edited when ArcGIS Pro is not running to change the directory alias without renaming the item.  This change will carry over to a project when you add it from your favorites, but if you change the name again within Pro project or favorites, the folder name will change.

Pre-Modification JSON Entry


Post Modification JSON Entry

{"TypeId":"folder_general","Path":"V:\\is\\work","Id":"","url":null,"name":"GTS - Work","persistFavorite":false}


In Example A, you can see the folders at the bottom before I modified the JSON file.  In Example B below, you can see the affect of the change made to the JSON configuration.

Example B



There are a couple of scenarios where this rename process will not work.  For example, if you setting a path to your C:\ or D:\ drives.  Trying to rename them is impossible.  Always connect to a folder under root of the directory rather than the root if you want to be able to rename it via the process described above.

Hope that helps everyone out and avoids some potentially difficult troubleshooting in the future.


Thank you for submitting this idea @John_Spence ! For users who are looking for the ability to create aliases for folder connections (not Favorites), please see Let us create an alias for connected folders in ArcGIS Pro  That idea is In Product Plan and we expect it to be included in ArcGIS Pro 2.9 later this year.

Due to how Favorites are stored, we will need to take a different approach meaning that this work will be done separately.

Thanks again for the idea.  We will continue to communicate here through status updates.


@KoryKramer  oh that is great news!  Thanks Kory.

Status changed to: Under Consideration

Outstanding news!  Thank you.

by Anonymous User

I commented on this article but I wanted to point out here too that this article is wrong and please correct it. It says "In the Favorites tab, double-click to rename any of your favorite items. This name is saved as an alias and does not affect the referenced item’s name." Thanks.


Sorry about that @Anonymous User that blog is from 2017 and I'm not sure if the functionality actually changed between then and now. The blog has been updated. Thank you for pointing out the error so that we could correct it.


We have the option to add an alias to connected folders in the catalog pane, but we should be able to do this for our favorites, too!


Currently, there is no option to create an alias for your folders stored in favorites:


This would be a great addition so people can create an alias for a folder that is more relevant to them or makes more sense. Typically, folders in favorites are used across organizations for data so the folder names can not be changed. 

Additionally, you can not add special characters into alias names (\ / : * ? & " < > | ). It would be great if some of these could be allowed, especially slashes (/) This way, there would be the option to name an alias with part of a file path (like D:/GIS/Data/Project/Deliverables). 





Strong agree. Bare minimum being able to show the full file path would be nice, including special characters. Better yet would be treating the folders more like shortcuts, i.e. the name and the path are two separate things.


I agree with the previous two comments!


I found a secret in the Pro settings, if you go to the catalog browsing section and turn on "complete path", any CONNECTED folders will show the whole file path to the folder. this does NOT work for the favorites tab.

This is a good start, but an alias with slashes is still awesome, as well as an alias/file path in Favorites. Sometimes, you don't want the whole file path for privacy purposes. Therefore, please still find a way to have aliases in favorites and connected folders with special characters!