What does APRX mean?

04-30-2023 11:50 AM
New Contributor

When I started working with ArcGIS Desktop (i.e. ArcMap) in 2005 I learned that the mapping file was referred to as an "MXD".  I also learned that this initialism stood for "Map Exchange Document".

ArcGIS Pro uses a map file with the APRX exension.  What does APRX mean?  I can think of a few possible definitions (e.g. ArcGIS Pro Exchange document?), but I would like to get this right for an ArcGIS Pro document I'm creating where I work, and eventual user manual.

I have searched online and through a LOT of ESRI documentation, but the best I can find is that it's a "mapping file"...but nowhere have I been able to find out what this actually initialism means.


Thank you.

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4 Replies
MVP Regular Contributor

ArcMap used .mxd (map document files). This contain one or more data frames (maps) and a layout.

An .aprx file is an ArcGIS Pro Project file. It can contain several maps (somewhat equivalent to data frames). But it can also contain several layouts, scenes and many other items unique to ArcGIS Pro. 

So ArcGIS Pro works with 'projects'. A one stop shop for all your spatial work on a project. Where ArcMap would use several mxds.

You can import .mxds into ArcGIS Pro and it will do its best to convert them to maps and layouts within the project.

I would recommend looking at Migrating from ArcMap to ArcGIS Pro resources:




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MVP Regular Contributor

For full clarity, an .aprx file is literally an 'ArcGIS Project File'.


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Esri Notable Contributor

Related, my fun guess is an *.aprx  is an homage to the ArcView*GIS application from the 1990's that stored the ArcVIew Project File in an *.apr file.

MVP Esteemed Contributor

As @ChristopherCounsell wrote, it stands the ArcGIS Project File.

However, the "x" part reflects the naming convention that Microsoft introduced in Office 2007 for their new Open XML File Format. It is a zip file consisting of many files (either json or xml files) and folders. You can rename it to .zip and open it up to examine the contents. An mxd file is in binary format, which isn't viewable.