It is possible to configure various aspects of ArcGIS Desktop, such as the storage location of corporate map templates, by amending Windows registry settings. Further settings can be configured by placing files into the individual users’ profile folders. These capabilities allow for the efficient enterprise-wide deployment of ArcGIS Desktop, ensuring that each user has access to the same corporate resources.
Such resources may be frequently modified, so it is convenient to store these in a network location, allowing the user to automatically pick up the latest version of the resource when they next access it.
This two part blog provides details of how to configure access to various corporate resources. In Part 1 we will look at configuring map templates, style files and coordinate reference systems.
In Part 2 we look at toolboxes and metadata style sheets and also briefly mention the Advanced Settings utility that is provided as part of the ArcGIS Desktop installation.
Windows Registry Settings
The Windows Registry is a collection of configuration settings in Microsoft Windows that is used to store much of the information and settings for software programs, hardware devices, user preferences, operating system configurations, and much more. It is accessed and configured using the Registry Editor program (regedit.exe), a free registry editing utility included with every version of Microsoft Windows.
Note: It is strongly recommended that you back up the registry before making any changes as an incorrect change to your computer’s registry could render your computer inoperable.
The following examples are based on an ArcGIS 10.x installation on a Windows 7 machine.
1. Map Templates:
1.1. The following registry setting controls the default folder from which templates are retrieved for display in the ArcMap 10.x Getting Started dialog:
1.2. To change this location to a network location containing corporate templates, Open Registry Editor, navigate to the registry key TemplateDir, double click to open it and change the Value data to your desired path. If this is a network location, use UNC paths.
1.3. To verify the change, Open ArcMap – the templates folder will now be visible in the Getting Started dialog. This registry change can now be deployed across the entire organisation.
2. Style Files:
2.1. The following registry setting controls the default Style folder in ArcGIS:
2.2. To deploy corporate GIS Symbology from a folder or network location, navigate to the above registry folder.
2.3. Create a new Key called Styles. This might not already exist so we need to create it, as shown below.
2.4. Create a new String Value in the Styles key created above. Set the value Name using numbers, sequentially from 0. Multiple styles can be added and will be ordered using the Name field. This is the order that will appear in ArcMap Style Manager.
In the Data field, enter the entire path to the style file. For network folders, use UNC paths.
2.5. To verify the change, Open ArcMap, and navigate to the Style Manager – the styles we added above should be visible. This registry change can now be deployed across the entire organisation.
3. Coordinate Reference Systems (.prj) and Custom Transformations (.gtf):
3.1. ArcMap 10.x can store commonly used projections in a Favourites folder. To deploy commonly used or custom reference systems, copy a folder containing projection files ( .prj) to the users’ coordinate system folder located at:
3.2. In the example below, a folder named Corporate Coordinate Reference Systems containing two prj files was deployed. Multiple folders can also be created, if need be.
3.3. Similarly, any custom transformations (.gtf) can be stored in:
3.4. To verify the change, open ArcMap, then open the Data Frame Properties dialog. Next, click the Coordinate System tab and the coordinate systems added above should be visible. This change can now be deployed across the entire organisation.
In the second and final part of this blog, we will look at configuring access to toolboxes, metadata style sheets and also the Advanced Settings utility that is provided as part of the ArcGIS Desktop installation.
Posted by Dhowal Dalal, GIS Consultant, Exprodat.