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OneDrive and ArcGIS Pro Saving Projects

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04-02-2021 09:38 AM
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New Contributor

Hey all, I am trying to find a way to store my ArcPro projects in the OneDrive while not also hosting them on my local machine. I will quickly run out of storage on my computer if I have to keep them all local. Should I get an external hard drive? 

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New Contributor II

I've been looking into this and using OneDrive with ArcGIS Pro is not supported - Problem: ArcGIS pro and Cloud Storage Services (

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Occasional Contributor III

There is an option in the OneDrive settings to only download files as you need them. Although you wouldnt truly be syncing with OneDrive if you enable that option.

Lead GIS Training Specialist
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MVP Frequent Contributor

This may be version dependant but go to the Project tab at the top-left of the screen, then Options -> Application -> General -> Create Projects.  You can then set the default location for projects and data to your One Drive.

I personally wouldn't like to store lots of GIS data on my OneDrive, especially stuff I would be looking to process or analyse, so an external hard drive may be an option depending on your use-case.

MVP Esteemed Contributor

I do not recommend auto-synching GIS files as you work on them. These are not simple files like word and excel files -- as you do processing hundreds of little files in your file geodatabase get written and read and you will burn a lot of network and CPU keeping things up to date with the cloud. Very easy to mess things up with your data. If you must use one drive only turn on folders for synching only when you are not working. Just my 2c.

If you have really large data files you are processing, an external drive makes a lot of sense, or better yet, add an SSD to your computer. I just added a 2T drive to my HP z-15 laptop for only $120. 

Occasional Contributor III

I've been using OneDrive a lot for the last year with ArcMap and ArcGIS Pro with no problems and no data loss.   I'm not working collaboratively when I use OneDrive, and am I definitely am not recommending its use in a mulit-user scenario.   

I have had no syncing issues or data loss using all default settings in OneDrive and Esri apps, but for a slight performance improvement, I found the following useful:

  •  I set the projects I'm actively working on to "Always keep on this device" - that saves time in waiting for downloads.  When the project is finished, set it to "Free up space."

  • During heavy disk I/O, I pause syncing for a few hours.  This avoids OneDrive trying to pick up every file edit, and it will just sync the final state.


2023 Update  - After two years of use, OneDrive is still officially not supported, but working fine anyway for single-user scenarios with no problems.  



MVP Esteemed Contributor

I very much appreciate you sharing your approach here and I agree with it. OneDrive is working much better than it did several years ago and I have heard anecdotal evidence that your approach is working for a lot of people (although not supported), and I will reiterate this advice (based on the school of hard knocks):

  • Always keep on this device to avoid latency when first accessing files (or datasets composed of many files like gdb, shapefiles, rasters with many aux files)
  • Avoid multiuser editing of a workspace - this is no different from a network share, except with OneDrive you can and should enforce this with sharing settings!
  • Pause sync to avoid performance hits and possible latency/collision instability when doing heavy editing or geoprocessing.

Non-ArcGIS tip - multi user editing of O365 documents (Word, Excel etc) is supported by Microsoft, but I have had best luck editing using the online editing, letting O365 deal with conflicts while you are editing on the server side instead of depending on sync of the desktop to resolve conflicts, which can cause creation of local copies if things go wrong (especially across Mac/PC or if there are sync latency issues). This works great once you get used to seeing someone else editing while you are!

New Contributor II

I've been looking into this and using OneDrive with ArcGIS Pro is not supported - Problem: ArcGIS pro and Cloud Storage Services (