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Basic toolbox management

Release 9.3
Last modified February 2, 2009
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This section describes the basic toolbox management functions such as create, add, delete, copy/paste, and rename. If you have any experience with Windows applications, such as Windows Explorer or ArcCatalog, you'll find that these basic toolbox management functions are found in familiar places and behave in familiar ways. For example, to rename a toolbox, you right-click on the toolbox to open its context menu and click Rename. However, there are exceptions that lead to different behavior depending on whether you're in ArcToolbox or in ArcCatalog.


Creating a new toolbox


You create new toolboxes in either ArcToolbox or ArcCatalog. After creating a toolbox, you can add system or custom tools.
Learn more about adding tools to a toolbox.

ArcToolbox


To create a new toolbox in ArcToolbox, right-click on the ArcToolbox entry and click New Toolbox. A toolbox will be created in the My Toolboxes folder with the default name and label of Toolbox. If you already have a toolbox by that name, the default name and label will be Toolbox (2).
Learn more about the My Toolboxes folder.
Learn more about toolbox names and labels.

If you create a new toolbox in ArcToolbox while in ArcMap, ArcGlobe, or ArcScene, the toolbox will not appear in ArcCatalog's ArcToolbox window. You must add it to ArcToolbox the next time you're in ArcCatalog.

Learn more about how ArcToolbox contents are managed.

ArcCatalog


Toolboxes can also be created using ArcCatalog—right-click the folder or geodatabase in which you want to create a new toolbox, point to New, and click Toolbox.

Once you have created a new toolbox, you'll probably want to add it to ArcToolbox because for tools to be accessible in the command line window, they must be added to ArcToolbox. Adding the toolbox to ArcToolbox also saves navigating to the location of your toolbox in the ArcCatalog tree each time you want to use it.

A toolbox has both a name and label property. When you create a new toolbox, the default name of Toolbox is used. If you already have a toolbox by that name, the default name and label will be Toolbox (2).
Learn more about toolbox names and labels.


Adding toolboxes



To add a toolbox to ArcToolbox

  1. Right-click the ArcToolbox entry in ArcToolbox and click Add Toolbox.
  2. Click the Look in drop-down arrow and browse to the location of the toolbox on disk that you want to add. Note that you can choose System toolboxes or toolboxes in the My Toolboxes folder in the drop-down list.
  3. Click the toolbox.
  4. Click Open.
You can also add toolboxes from ArcGIS Server.
Learn more about adding ArcGIS Server toolboxes.

Adding a toolbox to ArcToolbox from ArcCatalog


You can navigate to any toolbox in ArcCatalog, right-click and choose Add to ArcToolbox, as illustrated below. The toolbox will be added to the ArcToolbox window in ArcCatalog. It will not be added to the ArcToolbox window in ArcMap, ArcScene, or ArcGlobe.

Learn more about how ArcToolbox contents are managed.

Toolbox names and labels



Toolboxes have both a name and label property. The name of the toolbox is displayed in ArcCatalog while the label of the toolbox is displayed in ArcToolbox. When adding toolboxes to ArcToolbox, you are browsing to ArcCatalog, which displays the name. After adding the toolbox to ArcToolbox, be aware that the label may be different from the name, as illustrated below.

Toolbox name versus label

NOTE: When a toolbox is added to the ArcToolbox window, the label of the toolbox is displayed, not its name.
Learn more about toolbox names and labels.



Learn more about Toolboxes in ArcCatalog.

Learn more about adding tools and toolsets to a toolbox.


Copying and pasting toolboxes

Toolboxes can be copied and pasted in the same way you copy and paste other datasets.

NOTE: A toolbox residing in a geodatabase has a different internal format than a toolbox residing in a system folder. The only time this makes a difference is when you copy and paste (or drag and drop) toolboxes. A toolbox in a folder can be copied and pasted to any other folder but cannot be pasted into a geodatabase. Likewise, a toolbox in a geodatabase can be copied and pasted to any other geodatabase, but cannot be pasted to a folder.


If you want to copy a toolbox between folders and geodatabase, you will have to create a new toolbox in the destination location and copy tools from the source toolbox into the destination toolbox.
ArcToolbox does not differentiate between folder toolboxes and geodatabase toolboxes. If you copy a toolbox from the ArcToolbox window and then try to paste it in another location, but the paste command is unavailable, it is probably because the toolbox is a folder-based toolbox going into a geodatabase, or vice versa.
All system toolboxes are folder-based toolboxes.

You cannot paste a toolbox into the ArcToolbox window. Instead, you need to add the toolbox.


Dragging and dropping toolboxes

Toolboxes can be dragged and dropped in the same way you drag and drop other datasets. When dropping a toolbox into ArcToolbox, drop (that is, release the mouse button) on the ArcToolbox entry in the tree view, as shown below. If you drop anywhere else, the toolbox will not be added.

Dropping a toolbox in ArcToolbox

NOTE: The rules for copy/paste apply to drag/drop: you cannot drag a toolbox from a folder and drop it in a geodatabase, nor can you drag a toolbox from a geodatabase and drop it into a folder. You can only drag and drop a toolbox from folder to folder or from geodatabase to geodatabase.


As with drag/drop of datasets, if the location you are dropping on is on the same disk as the one you dragged from, the toolbox is moved. If the locations are on different disks, the toolbox is copied.

NOTE: When a toolbox is dragged from ArcCatalog into the ArcToolbox window, the label of the toolbox is displayed, not its name. This behavior can take you by surprise—you drop the toolbox into ArcToolbox, and the name changes. This is because the name and label may be different for the toolbox.
Learn more about toolbox names and labels.




Renaming toolboxes

To rename a toolbox, right-click on the toolbox and choose Rename.

Rename in ArcCatalog changes the name property, while rename in the ArcToolbox window changes the label property.

Learn more about toolbox names and labels.


Deleting and removing toolboxes

Toolboxes are permanently deleted from disk using ArcCatalog. Right-click on the toolbox and click Delete, or use the Delete key.
In the ArcToolbox window, you remove a toolbox from the window. The toolbox still remains on disk. To remove, right-click the toolbox and click Remove, or use the Delete key.

If the toolbox you delete contains a tool that refers to a script or executable, that script or executable is not deleted. You must delete the script from disk using, for instance, Windows Explorer.

If you want to protect your toolboxes from being deleted from disk, make them read-only.
Learn more about protecting toolboxes using read-only permissions.


Toolbox properties

To see a toolbox's properties, right-click the toolbox in either ArcCatalog or ArcToolbox, then click Properties.

General tab


The General tab contains the information you'll access and change the most.

See Toolbox names and labels for more information on the Name and Label property.

The Location property is the location on disk of the toolbox. System toolboxes will have the location of <ArcGIS install directory>\ArcToolbox\Toolboxes.

The Alias property is a short name that is used in command line and scripting.
Learn more about toolbox aliases.

Toolbox property page, General tab

Help tab


The Help tab allows you to reference a compiled help file (a file with a .chm extension) instead of using the standard geoprocessing help documentation system. The Export button allows you to export the toolboxes' documentation to an HTML file. This is useful if you want to have someone read or review the toolboxes' documentation without them having to use ArcGIS.
Learn more about documenting tools and toolboxes.

Toolbox property page, Help tab


Viewing help

Toolboxes have extensive help. Right-click on a toolbox and click Help. This opens the toolbox reference page. This reference page contains an overview of the toolbox; links to other information; and a table containing an overview of each toolset within the toolbox, and links to documentation about the toolset.
You can create similar documentation for your custom toolboxes.

Learn more about documenting toolboxes.

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