Where are custom models and scripts stored?
By default, your created tools (models and scripts) are stored in custom toolboxes that are maintained in the user profile: Documents and Settings\<user profile>\Application Data\ESRI\ArcToolbox\My Toolboxes.
If you want to change the default location, choosing Options on the Tools menu. On the Geoprocessing tab, there is an option called My Toolboxes. Use the Browse button to find the save location you'd prefer to use.
Learn more about where toolboxes are created
Where is the Merge tool?
The Merge tool is in the Data Management toolbox > General toolset.
I used the geoprocessing wizard in version 8.x. Is there anything similar I can use?
Yes. Although the ArcGIS 8.x version of the geoprocessing wizard was removed at ArcGIS 9.x, there is a new Introduction to geoprocessing panel you can add to an application that has a similar purpose as the wizard—access to commonly used tools.
To add this panel follow these steps:
- In the application, click the Tools menu and click Customize.
- In the Customize dialog box, click the Commands tab.
- In the Categories pane, click ArcToolbox.
- In the Commands pane click 'Geoprocessing...'.
- Drag Geoprocessing from the Customize dialog box and drop it onto the Window menu.
- Close the Customize dialog box.
The Introduction panel can now be opened by going to the Window menu and choosing Geoprocessing. From this panel, you can read information about the most popular tools, view graphical representations of each, and access their dialog boxes by clicking the Open tool.
Lear more about the Introduction to geoprocessing panel in Knowledge Base article 29723
What do I do when a tool fails because of geometry errors in my data?
There are two tools in ArcToolbox to handle this scenario: Check Geometry
and Repair Geometry
How do I show all system and custom toolboxes in the ArcCatalog tree?
On the Tools menu, in ArcCatalog, click Options. On the General tab check on the ArcToolbox option under 'What top level entries do you want the Catalog to contain?'.
Learn more about showing toolboxes in the ArcCatalog tree
How do I make sure my outputs aren't overwritten by subsequent tool executions?
By default, the outputs from all geoprocessing operations are not overwritten.
You can, however, change this so all your outputs will be overwritten. On the Tools menu click Options. On the Geoprocessing tab under the General section check Overwrite the outputs of geoprocessing operations check box. By default, this option is unchecked.
Learn more about overwriting outputs
Is there a way I can find out what geoprocessing work I did the last time I was logged on?
Yes, by viewing the history model for that session. History models document which tools were run and which parameter values were set in the last session. You can view this information the next time you open ArcCatalog by editing the history model and double-clicking each tool to view the parameter values that were set.
History models are maintained in the same location as your custom toolboxes: Documents and Settings\<user profile>\Application Data\ESRI\ArcToolbox\My Toolboxes
Learn more about history models
What is the licensing level of each geoprocessing tool (core and extension product)?
Geoprocessing tool licensing can be determined in the following ways:
Where can I find online information about Geoprocessing?
View the licensing matrix. This is an ArcGIS Desktop Help system page that shows all tools (core and extensions) in a tabular format and indicates at which license level you can use them.
- View each tool's help document in the Desktop Help system. It shows the licensing restrictions, if any, next to the name. Some tools will have (ArcInfo only) written next to their names, some will have nothing written next to their names. If there is nothing written next to the tools name, that tool is available at all license levels.
Open the Geoprocessing commands quick reference guide. This guide uses symbols next to each tool name to signify its licensing.
How do I run a geoprocessing tool batch-style?
ESRI Support Web page
Geoprocessing support web page
Web help for ArcGIS Desktop
New at ArcGIS 9.2 is the ability to run any geoprocessing tool in batch mode. Right click any tool in the ArcToolbox window and click Batch. This will open a dialog box that contains the batch table.
Learn more about batch processing
Why can't I see/add/use the Coverage Tools toolbox?
To access the Coverage Tools toolbox
and its tools you must have ArcInfo Workstation installed.
Why do I have to be an administrator to execute some tools?
Certain geoprocessing tools use the topology engine and they may not execute or work as expected unless you are an administrator. The following tools utilize the topology engine:
Symmetrical Difference (Analysis)
Feature Class to Coverage (Conversion)
Dissolve (Data Management)
Feature to Line (Data Management)
Feature to Polygon (Data Management)
Integrate (Data Management)
Validate Topology (Data Management)
Learn more about geoprocessing tools that use the topology engine in Knowledge base article 29559
I know I can set environments (workspaces, tolerances, and so on) in a number of places, but which one's take precedence?
There is a hierarchy to the environment settings.
Learn more about environment settings and their hierarchy
Do the “Raster Analysis” environment settings affect all raster tools?
- Environments set in the application or in the ArcToolbox window apply to all tools.
- Environments set in your custom tool (model or script) apply to all tools used in the model or script. They will override those set in the application or the ArcToolbox window.
- Environments set for a single process in a model apply to just that process and will override all others set in the previous two ways.
No, they are not used for all raster-related tools. They are only used for the Spatial Analyst tools.
Learn more about the Raster Analysis environments
How do I find the tool I need?
There are several ways you can find the tool you need:
How do I use selection sets in geoprocessing tools?
- If you already know its name, the easiest way is to use the Index tab on the ArcToolbox window. Typing the tool name will cause the alphabetical list to scroll to the name you type. If you double click the highlighted selection, its dialog box will open. You can also use the Locate button to see its location in the ArcToolbox window.
Learn more about finding tools with the Index tab
- If you can't remember the exact name of the tool, you can also use the Search tab. By entering keywords, a list of applicable tools will be produced for you. If you double–click the highlighted selection, its dialog will open. You can also use the Locate button to see its location in the ArcToolbox window.
Learn more about finding tools with the Search tab
- If you have no idea what the name of the tool is but you know the type of work you want to do, the best place to start is in the Desktop Help system. The Geoprocessing tool reference module breaks down all the tools down by toolbox and toolset. Each level contains an overview that describes the type of work you can perform with the tools in that toolbox or toolset. Working through the overview pages will help you locate the functionality you need.
There will be times when you need to perform geoprocessing on selection sets: meaning the input to tools will be a subset of a larger dataset. There are numerous ways to do this but the most efficient is to use the Make Feature Layer
The Make Feature Layer tool is used to create a feature layer from an input feature class or layer file and includes a Where Clause parameter so you can create a selection set of features. This feature layer is temporary and stored in memory during the ArcGIS session. The feature layer can be used as input to any geoprocessing tool that accepts a feature class as input.
Learn more about selections sets in geoprocessing tools
How do I create a view or virtual feature class that supports a many-to-many relationship?
Use the Make Query Table
tool. The Make Query Table tool applies an SQL query
to a database and the results are represented in a layer or table view. The query can be used to join several tables or return a subset of columns or rows from the original data in the database.
The Make Query Table tool is located in the Data Management toolbox > Layers and Table Views
How do I project data on the fly?
To project data on the fly, meaning as a tool is running the output will be projected to a different coordinate system than the input, set the Output Coordinate System
How do I convert multipart features to singlepart?
There is a tool in the Data Management toolbox > Features
called Multipart to Singlepart
that separates (explodes) multipart features into separate singlepart features.
Is it possible to rename and/or omitting fields when running a tool?
Use the Make Feature Layer
tool to create a temporary feature layer that is stored in memory during your ArcGIS session, and set the Field Info parameter. The Field Info parameter allows you to review and alter the field names for the new layer. Fields can be hidden, and a split policy can be specified.
The Make Feature Layer tool is found in the Data Management toolbox > Layers and Table Views
When do I use Append? When do I use Merge?
when you want to combine two or more adjacent layers into one large layer that contains all their features.
when you want to combine input features from multiple input sources into a single, new, output feature class. Additionally, Merge's input data sources need not be adjacent; overlap is allowed.
If you were to run the Append tool followed by the Dissolve
tool the result would be the equivalent of the Merge tool.
What is Field Mapping and when do I use it?
When merging several input datasets into a single output dataset, the field structure and contents are a consideration. Each input dataset will contain fields that also exist in other input datasets, as well as fields that are unique to only that dataset. How these fields are managed determines the field structure and content in the output dataset. Field mapping allows you to define this output dataset field structure.
Learn more about performing field mapping
When do I use Copy Features or Copy Rows?
writes the rows from an input table, table view, feature class or feature layer to a new table. If the input rows are a feature class, then only the attributes, not the geometry, will be copied to the output table.
copies the selected features to a new feature class. The input features (geometry and attributes) will be copied to the output feature class. Additionally, this tool can be used for data conversion, as it can read many feature formats (any you can add to map) and write these out to a shapefile, personal geodatabase, file geodatabase, or an SDE geodatabase.
How do I add coordinates as attributes to a point feature class?
There is a tool in the Data Management toolbox > Features
toolset called Add XY Coordinates
that adds coordinates as attributes to a point input features.
How do I use a text file with point coordinates as input to a tool?
There is a tool in the Data Management toolbox > Layers and Table Views
called Make XY Event Layer
tool that makes a point layer based on x and y coordinates from a source table.