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Diving into your questions about ArcGIS Pro 3.0 – Part 1

Let’s take a deeper dive into some of the questions you asked about ArcGIS Pro 3.0. In this first post, we will take you through your questions about set-up and collaboration.

With each release of ArcGIS Pro, we see all-new capabilities, performance and productivity improvements that enable all GIS professionals to expand their abilities. ArcGIS Pro 3.0 is no exception. ArcGIS Pro 3.0 brings us the first Major release of the software since 2.0 in 2017, meaning some noteworthy workflow-altering changes to be ready for.

On August 4, my colleague Emilie Rabeau and I dove into everything new with ArcGIS Pro 3.0 to help you prepare for this major release. We had a great time showing you some of our favourite enhancements, from dates and file sizes added to the catalog view to the new color vision deficiency simulator and sharing all you need to know before jumping into ArcGIS Pro 3.0. You can access the webinar recording for a refresher on what we covered.

Throughout the webinar, many questions floated in on the different topics in ArcGIS Pro. Unfortunately, with a deep pool of content to cover in only one hour, Emilie and I didn't get a chance to address every question, so we have put together this Q&A to ensure you have all you need to know.

Set-up and getting started with ArcGIS Pro 3.0

Just as we started dipping our toes into ArcGIS Pro 3.0, we started getting questions about the software's set-up. This is the perfect place to start, especially with ArcGIS Pro 3.0 being a major release and having some more substantial changes happening on the backend of the software.

Q: When is it necessary to install .NET 6?

A: You will need to install .NET 6 before you can install ArcGIS Pro 3.0. Microsoft's .NET 6 is the latest release of the .NET Framework and is used to create and run software applications. ArcGIS Pro 3.0 was built upon this new framework and cannot be installed or run without .NET 6 on the same machine. You can download .NET 6 directly from Microsoft.

In this YouTube video we made, you can see how you are unable to complete the installation of ArcGIS Pro 3.0 if Microsoft .NET 6 is not first installed:

Q: Are there any changes in hardware requirements for 3.0?

A: The minimum hardware requirements for ArcGIS Pro 3.0 have not changed. However, there has been one change made to the recommended memory requirements. For ArcGIS Pro 3.0, the recommended memory has been increased from 16 GB of RAM with ArcGIS Pro 2.9 to 32 GB of RAM. Please review the ArcGIS Pro 3.0 system requirements documentation for the complete breakdown of the minimum, recommended and optimal configuration for running the software.

Q: I am using ArcGIS Pro 2.9.3, which performs well with 16 GB RAM. Will I notice a slower performance with ArcGIS Pro 3.0?

A: While 16 GB RAM is still within the required amount for ArcGIS Pro 3.0, it is no longer the recommended amount but the minimum. This indicates that you may see slower performance when performing heavy workflows on your machine. However, for everyday use of ArcGIS Pro, you should not have an issue working on a machine with 16 GB RAM.

Compatibility and Sharing

The most significant change with ArcGIS Pro 3.0 is the move to the .NET 6 framework. As a result, compatibility and sharing between versions of ArcGIS Pro will look a little different. We could see this topic made some waves as we saw many questions drift in when we were discussing collaboration.

Q: Will backwards compatibility between ArcGIS Pro 3.0 and ArcGIS Pro 2.x be added in the future?

A: While some backwards compatibility exists between ArcGIS Pro 3.0 and ArcGIS Pro 2.x, there are limitations. Projects and project templates saved using ArcGIS Pro 3.0 cannot be opened with ArcGIS Pro 2.x. This was not a design choice made by the developers and something they may change in the future but a software limitation due to the underlying framework change. The change to Microsoft .NET 6 was required for the software to have long-term compatibility and support with Microsoft. In addition, it was necessary to stay at the forefront of the software development community. There are workarounds for being able to collaborate between different versions of ArcGIS Pro, and Esri has released some resources

to explain further the implications of a Major release that help to go over these workflows and limitations in more detail:

Q: Is there a way to open ArcGIS Pro 3.0 content in ArcGIS Pro 2.x?

A: Yes, collaboration between ArcGIS Pro 3.0 and ArcGIS Pro 2.x is possible in the software. Projects and project templates (.aprx, .ppkx, and .aptx files) saved with any version of ArcGIS Pro 2.x can be opened and used by ArcGIS Pro 2.x and 3.0. However, projects and project templates saved using ArcGIS Pro 3.0 cannot be opened by ArcGIS Pro 2.x. You can get around this limitation by creating project packages and sharing those with other users. The packages, made with the Package Project Data Management tool, have a parameter where you can select versions of ArcGIS Pro with which it must be compatible. If sharing projects between users is a standard workflow in your organization, we recommend all users update to ArcGIS Pro 3.0; working with the package project tool will get the job done where that is not possible.

A screen capture of ArcGIS Pro showing Package Project geoprocessing tool which be used to save a project that is compatible with previous version of the software using the package version parameter.

The package version parameter allows you to save your project so it is compatible with a previous version of the software. 

Q: Is ArcGIS Pro 3.0 compatible with ArcGIS Enterprise 10.8.1?

A: Yes, while we recommend using the latest version of ArcGIS Pro with the latest version of ArcGIS Enterprise, you can use ArcGIS Pro 3.0 to publish to older versions of ArcGIS Enterprise. Similarly, you can use ArcGIS Pro 2.9 or earlier supported versions to publish to ArcGIS Enterprise 11. However, publishing may downgrade newer content in cases where functionality is not supported on older servers. You can also publish to ArcGIS Online with any version of ArcGIS Pro. The ArcGIS Blog Should I upgrade to ArcGIS Pro 3.0 to share my work answers this and similar questions in detail and is an excellent article to review before making the transition to ArcGIS Pro 3.0.

Q: Does style translate to ArcGIS Pro 3.0?

A: Styles created at 2.x versions of ArcGIS Pro can be added to ArcGIS Pro 3.0 project but will be read-only. When adding a style made in a previous version, you will be prompted with the option to upgrade the style and if you select yes, you will be able to edit the style as normal.

A screen capture showing the pop-up message that is prompted when a style being imported into ArcGIS Pro 3.0 if it was created in a previous version of the software. The message reads “This style does not match the current version of ArcGIS Pro and will be read-only unless upgraded. A backup style named Firefly_2x.stylx in the original style location will be saved upon upgrade. Would you like to upgrade it?”.

Message prompted when adding a style created with a pervious version of ArcGIS Pro.

You can also upgrade the style from the catalog pane if not done when you first add it to the project.

Q: Can you still publish ArcGIS Pro maps to ArcGIS Server using ArcGIS Pro 3.0?

A: Yes, you can still publish a map service made in ArcGIS Pro to ArcGIS Server using ArcGIS Pro 3.0. The process of publishing maps to ArcGIS Server has not changed with ArcGIS Pro 3.0. After making a publisher or administrator connection to your ArcGIS Server in the Catalog pane or view, right-click the ArcGIS Server site and click Publish, then Map Service. The complete instructions for publishing a map service are outlined in the ArcGIS Pro documentation.

Q: If .atbx is the new default for toolboxes, can I still create .tbx files? Are they compatible with ArcGIS Pro 3.0?

A: Custom legacy toolbox files (.tbx) are read-only in ArcGIS Pro 3.0, and you cannot create new .tbx's in the latest software version. They can still open and run the tools; however, If you need to edit the tools in a .tbx within ArcGIS Pro 3.0, you will need to convert them to an .atbx by copying and pasting the tools from the .tbx into a .atbx. If you need to share an ArcGIS Pro 3.0 toolbox, they can be packaged using the Consolidate Toolbox Data Management tool to maintain compatibility with previous 2.x versions.

Q: Can I still import .mxd’s to ArcGIS Pro 3.0?

A: Yes, you can still import .mxd's into ArcGIS Pro 3.0. The process for importing ArcMap documents into ArcGIS Pro has not changed with the update to ArcGIS Pro 3.0. Select the Insert ribbon and you will see the tool Import Map in the Project group. A screen capture showing the "Import Map" option in the Insert ribbon which is used to bring MXD's into ArcGIS Pro.

An MXD can be added to ArcGIS Pro using Import Map.

After selecting that tool, you can navigate to your MXD and bring it into ArcGIS Pro. For complete documentation of these steps and a video created by Esri Inc, please review the ArcGIS Pro documentation Import an ArcMap document.

Q: Do my Python scripts need to be updated?

A: Scripts written in ArcGIS Pro 2.x that use the module will continue to work in ArcGIS Pro 3.0; however, the Cartographic Information Model (CIM) version must be updated to access version 3.0 CIM. For more information on working with the CIM please see Python CIM access.

That covers all your questions about set-up and collaboration with ArcGIS Pro 3.0. Stay tuned for more of your ArcGIS Pro 3.0 questions answered in Part 2, coming soon! In the meantime, take a look at some of these standout blogs covering all things ArcGIS Pro 3.0:

This post was translated to French and can be viewed here

About the Author

Maggie Samson is a Technical Solutions Specialist at Esri Canada. She focuses on sharing the endless possibilities with Esri technology by creating demonstration resources. Maggie discovered her love of maps after getting lost on family road trips a few too many times. While at the University of Guelph studying geography, she was introduced to Esri's ArcGIS Desktop products and the world of digital mapping. This led her to Fleming College for a postgraduate diploma in GIS. In her free time, she likes to go on an adventure with her dog—and they do not get lost.

Profile Photo of Maggie Samson