A User's Guide to ArcGIS Accounts

04-29-2020 11:30 AM
Esri Regular Contributor
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Table of Contents



1) ArcGIS Public Account vs. ArcGIS Organizational Account


ArcGIS Public vs Organizational Account

ArcGIS Public Account – opens the door to the Esri community for training, discussions, and more! ArcGIS Organizational Account – unlocks the power of ArcGIS software platform

You can create this account yourself, for freeThe ArcGIS organization's administrator must create this for you and provide information on how to access it
Available to just about anyone over 18The ArcGIS organization's administrator determines who needs an organizational account
Lasts a lifetime since it can't expire The ArcGIS organization's administrator can create, change the privileges for, and delete an organizational account
Most people need just one; having more than one is just confusingYou may have more than one at a time for different tasks (work project vs. free course); be sure to select the correct one to access the needed privileges and licenses 
Holds your training history (courses completed, certificates, etc.) foreverHolds current ArcGIS Online privileges and named user ArcGIS licenses (such as for ArcGIS Pro); the ArcGIS organization's administrator can add or remove these as needed and delete the account entirely
Provides access to Esri.com websites (like Esri.com/training)The ArcGIS organization's administrator decides if the account provides access to Esri.com websites (like esri.com/training); many temporary accounts will NOT have Esri Access enabled
Provides limited access to ArcGIS Online (www.arcgis.com)Provides enhanced access to ArcGIS Online (www.arcgis.com); the administrator determines what privileges and licenses are available
Was at one time called an Esri Global account or an Esri accountWas at one time called an ArcGIS Online organizational account
Can be "turned into" an ArcGIS organizational account, with an invitation to join an organizationThe ArcGIS organization's administrator decides if the account includes access to Esri websites and licenses for Esri software like ArcGIS Pro



2) All About ArcGIS Public Accounts 


A) You can create an ArcGIS public account at accounts.esri.com. (Before you do, check to see if you already have one, since one is enough for most people.)


Create an ArcGIS Public Account



B) An ArcGIS public account allows access to websites with "esri.com" in the URL, including Training (www.esri.com/training), Esri Community (www.esri.com/community), My Esri (my.esri.com). You can see the websites you can visit in the drop-down menu, when you are signed in.


Esri websites you can visit with ArcGIS Public account


C) An ArcGIS public account stores your training history; you can find it at My Learning Activity.


My Learning Activity


D) An ArcGIS public account provides limited access to ArcGIS Online. There is no access to analysis, no credits to spend, and no access to named user licenses for ArcGIS software like ArcGIS Pro or Collector.



No analysis is available in an ArcGIS Public account


E) Two ArcGIS Public accounts can be merged. Please contact accounts@esri.com to merge two or more accounts.


Merging two ArcGIS Public accounts


F) An ArcGIS public account can and should stay with you from school, to job, to another job... Using one ArcGIS Public account from your first connection with Esri through your latest course or webinar, ensures all of your Esri related information is accessible in one place, forever.


Lifelong ArcGIS Public Account




3) All About ArcGIS Organizational Accounts


A) ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise administrators create ArcGIS organizational accounts. The administrator, your manager or your instructor will provide information on how to access the account. 




B) An ArcGIS organizational account does not provide access to websites with esri.com in the URL (Training at www.esri.com/training, Esri Community at www.esri com/community, etc.) UNLESS it is "Esri enabled." This is a switch the ArcGIS administrator can turn on or off for each organization member.


On/Off Switch


If this switch is on, then the ArcGIS Organizational account can access the same sites an ArcGIS public account does (esri.com websites); it also has other organizational privileges.





If this switch is off, then the account does not provide access to esri.com websites.






Further, if the switch is “off” for your ArcGIS  Organizational account, and you try to visit an esri.com website by signing in with that account's user name and password, you will see the message below. It reminds you the account you signed in with is not Esri enabled. That is, this ArcGIS Organizational account has the switch "turned off."

Not enabled for Esri access message


What should you do if you see this message and can't get to the webpage you seek?


  1. Click the “Sign out of this account” blue button
  2. Navigate to the esri.com website URL you want to reach (Perhaps it was www.esri.com/training/my-schedule? Or www.esri.com/community?)
  3. Sign in (via a dialog box like the one below) with either an ArcGIS Public account or an ArcGIS Online organizational account that is Esri-enabled.


You may think the best solution is to contact your administrator to request that the switched be "turned on." There are good reasons for administrators to leave the switch off, so read up on them before you make that request.


ArcGIS Sign In dialog


C) ArcGIS organizational accounts provide access to ArcGIS Online, and if granted privileges by the administrator, access to analysis tools, premium content, credits and named user licenses for ArcGIS software like ArcGIS Pro, Collector, etc.






4) Keeping Track of your Accounts


To find the user names for all of your accounts associated with an e-mail address, visit www.arcgis.com and click on “Forgot username?” If you have more than one e-mail address, you may need to repeat this a few times to find them all. 


Forgot username option



You will receive an e-mail reply with a listing of all the ArcGIS accounts, public and organizational, associated with each e-mail address. The response below is the for an individual who has: 


- An ArcGIS public account with user name “username"
- An ArcGIS organizational account with the user name “username_mycompany.”


Note that the ArcGIS organizational account has Esri access "disabled," meaning "the switch is off" and that this account cannot be used to access Esri.com websites. Note too, that the message refers to an Esri Public Account; that's the "old name" for a ArcGIS public account.


E-mail text reply to Forgot username


5) Best practice: One ArcGIS Public Account and One or More ArcGIS Organizational Accounts


The main reason to have one ArcGIS Public account and one or more ArcGIS Organizational accounts is that one ArcGIS Public account will stay with you during your career and ArcGIS Organizational accounts will "come and go." Remember: An administrator may delete an ArcGIS Organizational account once a project, course, or job ends.


Because ArcGIS Organizational accounts are "temporary" your ArcGIS administrator may be hesitant to turn on (“enable”) Esri access. When deleting an ArcGIS Organizational account that is Esri enabled, an ArcGIS administrator has the choice of deleting the training history associated with the account or to letting the account remain with the training history as an ArcGIS Public account. (I refer to this as a ZOMBIE ArcGIS public account!)


We strongly urge students and professionals to maintain a single ArcGIS public account through their careers. Should your organization provide Esri-enabled ArcGIS organizational accounts, consider contacting accounts@esri.com to move your training history to an ArcGIS public account before such an account is deleted.


Lifelong with a Single ArcGIS Public Account and Many ArcGIS Organizational Accounts

About the Author
I'm on Esri's Learn ArcGIS Team.