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ArcGIS Explorer is an excellent application for displaying and querying geographic information from a variety of sources, including GIS services, local data, shared content, and so on. In addition to displaying geographic information, ArcGIS Explorer allows you to create your own information by creating notes and asking questions about the information displayed in your map. You can use ArcGIS Explorer to deliver content and functionality to the various users in your organization by distributing maps that contain the content that is relevant for them. Depending on the users you are targeting, you might want to also configure how those users work with ArcGIS Explorer by defining how the application itself behaves. You can do this by creating an application configuration that refines the application for your target users.

An application configuration is a file that allows you to centrally manage all aspects of how your users work with ArcGIS Explorer, including the content they work with, the functionality and the capabilities of the application and the home server that ArcGIS Explorer connects to at startup. You can define different application configurations that target different users in your organization.

An application configuration can be placed on a web server and accessed by ArcGIS Explorer via http, or it can be placed on a file server and accessed via UNC.

What you can do with an application configuration
With an application configuration, you can define a number of aspects of how ArcGIS Explorer behaves. This includes:

The default map
Every application configuration includes a default map that’s opened the first time you start ArcGIS Explorer and that represents the starting point for new maps.

If permitted, users can add their own content on the default map’s content and save it as a new map. You can specify as part of the application configuration that the default map is always opened when users start ArcGIS Explorer.

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Basemaps and connections
The Basemaps gallery on the Home tab gives you quick access to basemaps. As part of the application configuration you can add additional basemaps to this gallery, or replace its contents.

For your users that add their own content from GIS servers or geodatabases, you can specify default connections that are automatically available in the Add GIS Service and Add Geodatabase Data wizards.

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Permissible capabilities of the application
You can restrict which capabilities of the application your users have access to as part of the application configuration such as the ability to save and print maps. Restricting a function of the application will disable any related controls in the application. For example, if you don’t permit users to print maps, the Print button on the application menu will be disabled.

You can further restrict what your users do with ArcGIS Explorer by customizing the controls that are available on the Ribbon. See Application customizations below.

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The application’s look and feel
There are a number of ways you can change the appearance of ArcGIS Explorer through the application configuration to brand ArcGIS Explorer. These include:

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Application customizations
The application configuration can also describe some customizations of the application itself. You can remove functions (e.g. find driving directions) that are not relevant for your users or that you specifically don’t want them to use. You can also include add-ins that you’ve developed or acquired as a basic function of the application presented alongside built-in functionality on the Ribbon, rather than via the Add-ins tab.

Application customizations allow you to deploy custom add-ins throughout your organization without your end users having to configure them or even be aware that they are using add-ins. An application configuration allows you to centrally manage both the deployment and the updating of add-ins that your users need.

In the following example, the application configuration describes the following customizations:

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