Recognize Folder Shortcut type in Add Data Dialog

11-28-2011 06:07 AM
Status: Implemented
Labels (1)
Occasional Contributor
The Add Data Dialog Box does not recognize folder shortcuts. I create many shortcuts to project folders where I store personal geodatabases or shapefiles. It would be extremely useful to be able to see existing shortcuts I've created and go directly to the data source. This is a basic functionality of any Windows open dialog. I'm not sure why this is not already possible.
I ran into this myself, the solution i found was add the LNK extension through ArcCatalog options. It opens the folder for you, but doesn't actually use the file path within add data. Why not use folder connections? They serve almost the same functionality?
When dealing with multiple datasets from vairous sources.... perhaps on another server or on the moon. Being able to setup a shortcut in the folder where you default data is (or any data is) would save time. I don't need to have every source of data mapped, sometimes you just need to quickly get to it then forget it 🙂

Seriously though... shortcuts would help huge in our organization workflow...
I agree with the author that the explorer folder shortcut type should be recognized. As an educator with students in front of ArcGIS they get confused in the various dialogs. in ArcMap the open map dialog is much different from the rest of Add Data, Toolbox choose workspace (folder) dialogs and the folder connections concept. 

A map dialog can browser ANY location Windows Explorer supports .lnk, direct UNC entry. 

Add Data only uses Folder Connections which has a purpose but cannot replace folder links which can be grouped and named unlike folder connections. 

When overloading ArcCatalog with Folder Connections (20+) , most of which are UNC pathes for some reason my ArcCatalog runs much slower when . Windows Explorer never has this problem browsing to locations so maybe performance could be another reason to support explorer shortcuts.
In full reorganization of our GIS file tree, we are often forced to create shortcuts to the data, when multiple logical lead to the same file.
This is very useful, provided the "Add Data" button allows to walk through these links.
Same for ArcCatalog.

For information, working in a mixed environment ArcGIS / Qgis, QGis ("Data Add" or "Browser") takes this functionality natively.

Thank you for this development very helpful.


Symbololic Links appears to be a functional requires a bit more setup effort than a simple folder shortcut, but at least enables this capability.  I agree, though, shortcut recognition should be baked in.


Modify ArcGIS Catalog so that windows shortcuts (links) appear in the window, and can be used to navigate to additional content.  Shortcuts are valid Windows file system objects and should be visible, as they were in ArcGIS Desktop.

Status changed to: Under Consideration
Status changed to: In Product Plan
Status changed to: Implemented

This Idea has been implemented in ArcGIS Pro 3.2. Please see the What's New documentation for more new features in Pro 3.2.


The Your Ideas in ArcGIS Pro 3.2 blog and video have been posted to the Esri Community blog. You can take a look at these to see your idea and all others that were implemented in this release of ArcGIS Pro.