Frequently asked question

What is the difference between a project package and a project template?

Last Published: March 16, 2022


When saving a project in ArcGIS Pro, the project can be shared as a project package file (.ppkx) or a project template file (.aptx). Both files save all the elements of the project including maps and 3D view, the data and layers of the maps, toolboxes, geoprocessing history items, style layouts, and folders or connections. However, there are differences between project packages and project templates.

To demonstrate the differences, in this example, the NorthridgeQuake project is shared as a project package and a project template.

The ArcGIS Pro original project named  NorthridgeQuake with a folder connection named NorthridgeQuake, one layout, and a Default file geodatabase.

The project shared as a project package

A project package is shared using the Package Project tool that consolidates the referenced maps and data and packages the project file (.aprx). Project packages can be used to share projects between colleagues in a workgroup, organization, or with other ArcGIS users through ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise. When sharing the project as a project package, users can view the same project and data included in the original project, as shown in the image below.

The project package with the name NorthridgeQuake retained, the folders the same, and the folder connection named Package_NorthridgeQuake.

The project shared as a project template

A project template is a project package type that can be used to create new projects. It can be considered a customizable starting state for a project that preserves any configuration to be reused when creating a new project. Project templates make the task of standardizing a series of maps for different projects simpler and ensure the desired layers are readily available when creating new projects. In a project template, custom basemaps are included and maps can be produced with standard layouts. Additionally, connections to the databases used by a group or for a project are provided in advance, and attachments with specifications or guidelines are also included. When sharing a project as a project template, users can create a new project with a different name from the original, and a new default geodatabase is created, as shown in the image below.

The project template with the project name changed to TemplateNorthridgeQuake, and a new file geodatabase created.

Article ID:000027273

  • ArcGIS Pro 2 8 x
  • ArcGIS Pro 2 7 x
  • ArcGIS Pro 2 x

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