Disable loading last opened map on ArcMap startup

Last Published: April 25, 2020


When ArcMap starts, the following example message dialog box is displayed:

"Loading... C:\data\SampleMaps\MexicoPopulation.mxd

Press <Esc> to display startup dialog".

Instructions provided describe how to disable this dialog box from displaying and disable the last map from loading, configuring ArcMap to open with the regular startup dialog box and/or no startup dialog box.


There are two solutions:

Solution 1: Disable the last map from loading from within ArcMap.
· At 10 and higher:
1. Start ArcMap. When this dialog box displays, immediately press the ESC key.
2. Navigate to Customize > ArcMap Options > Under the General Tab.
3. Uncheck 'Load last map on startup'.

· At 9.3.1 and lower:
1. Start ArcMap. When this dialog box displays, immediately press the ESC key.
2. Uncheck the 'Load last map on startup' check box.
3. Select 'A new empty map', 'A template' or 'An existing map' as desired.

To disable the ArcMap startup dialog box from displaying again, check the 'Do not show this dialog again' check box.

4. Click OK.

Solution 2: Disable the last map from loading from within the registry editor.

WARNING: The instructions below include making changes to essential parts of your operating system. It is recommended that you backup your operating system and files, including the registry, before proceeding. Consult with a qualified computer systems professional, if necessary.

Esri cannot guarantee results from incorrect modifications while following these instructions. Therefore, use caution and proceed at your own risk.

1. Close any open ArcMap or ArcCatalog applications.
2. Within the Windows operating system, select Start > Run and type regedit.
3. The registry editor opens. Within the tree view on the left, expand folders HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Software > ESRI > ArcMap.

At ArcGIS Desktop 10, the path to this registry key is: HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Software > ESRI > Desktop 10.0 > ArcMap.

4. Click once on the Settings folder.
5. On the right side of the registry editor, right-click 'LoadLastMapOnStartup' and click 'Modify'.
6. Change the value from 1 to 0 and click OK.

Article ID:000010490

  • ArcMap

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