Offer a standalone ArcCatalog replacement for ArcGIS Pro

09-09-2021 06:55 AM
Status: Open
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Frequent Contributor

In ye olden days, I enjoyed being able to use ArcCatalog as a GIS-savvy file explorer. I could open it and quickly zip around my files to get a quick glance. I usually keep Catalog open on my computer for these reasons. Sometimes a glance is all I need, and I can close the catalog and be done with it. If I wanted to do something with what I found, I could quickly open up a map document and drag the data that I had already navigated to over to the document.

Now, the process is much more cumbersome - the word "quickly" no longer applies. I still use ArcCatalog for those exploring and previewing and purposes since there is no true Pro equivalent. The catalog view doesn't quite meet my needs - you have to add it as a tab, and it doesn't remember folder connections (or at least the ones it remembers are specific to the project you happen to have open). Further, if you drag it out into its own window, it's useless, as the contents/catalog tree doesn't come with it. It's also impossible to drag into your map's TOC if you drag it out into its own window, as the TOC changes to reflect Catalog View. But I have to use both ArcCatalog and Catalog View, since I cannot drag and drop feature classes or shapefiles from ArcCatalog into an ArcGIS Pro project.

I believe a beefed up Catalog View, offered as a standalone application, would resolve many of these issues.


I totally agree


@rburke  PREACH! ✌


Catalog can remember your folder connections. Just check out the "Favorites" section.

One of the project templates in Pro is a "Catalog" style. Would it be too cumbersome to simply have a "Catalog" project that is dedicated to your files, folders, and database connections?

That said, if someone were to utilize the Pro SDK and develop a more narrowly-focused "flavor" of Pro to accomplish this, I would probably use it.


@jcarlsonfavorites does look promising, thank you.

I have a few irritations with having a "file" rather than a standalone .exe:

  1. All the panes that you use for editing maps and layouts would be irritatingly present as ArcGIS Pro remembers these based on your last session, not the project file
  2. A standalone file can't be pinned to the taskbar and so on, requiring a couple clicks to get to (and would have the same icon as every other file)
  3. You'd be running multiple instances of ArcGIS Pro, which is irritating from a "I want to click the taskbar icon once without hovering and squinting to open something" standpoint
  4. It comes with all the gunk - toolbox, gdb, import log, etc. as every other file; therefore, wherever you put it, it would have to live inside a folder with those other things.
  5. You'd be constantly bugged to "save changes" when no changes are actually made.


I can never quite figure out the "remembered" layout. Sometimes it seems that it does remember in a "project-agnostic" way, but I have other projects that reliably open with a set arrangement of panes.

Have you played around with ArcGIS Pro for Intelligence? It's clearly just Pro, but with an alternate configuration that is use-specific. Gets its own icon, too! When I imagine a potential "Pro Catalog" program, that's sort of what I'm thinking of. I have 0 experience w/ the Pro SDK, though, otherwise I'd take a stab at it myself.

For the "extra gunk", you can change the project's settings to get rid of those. But then, the real solution here is development of the tool, not user workarounds.


@jcarlson  I haven't looked into that, no. I don't think I'd be able to get my hands on it, and like you said, annoying to use a complicated (and pricey?) workaround with other apps that aren't really made for the use case (which is...a file viewer).


Yes.  So many times when I could use pro to do something I just use ArcCatalog because it is simpler.  


For the part about persisting connections, see

While this won't address the comment about having a different icon that can be added to the taskbar, if Pro were able to be opened and remember the pane configuration at the project level vs. the application level that might help using a second instance solely as a Catalog view.  That functionality is requested as  Save open panes in ArcGIS Pro at the project level... - Esri Community  

That is also related to  Custom Pane Settings in "Reset Panes" Menu - Esri Community  which would allow a user to toggle to a "catalog" or data management configuration.

Please add your support to those ideas and optionally add comments that your use case is to achieve more streamlined data management workflows.

Items can then be drag/dropped from the Pro "data management" instance into other open projects.


@KoryKramerEven if all of those things were implemented, it's still not worth the hassle when I can open up ArcCatalog and have every function I need minus drag and drop. I'd rather deal with the lack of drag and drop than have a second Pro instance.

by Anonymous User

@rburke agree with you! 🙂