Apply geographic transformations in ArcToolbox geoprocessing tools

Last Published: April 25, 2020


The content in this article pertains to ArcGIS versions 9.x only. Later versions of ArcGIS may contain different functionality, as well as different names and locations for menus, commands and geoprocessing tools.

Instructions provided describe how to apply geographic transformations in ArcToolbox geoprocessing tools. In ArcGIS Desktop this procedure ensures that geographic (datum) transformations are applied to data during geoprocessing operations such as Import, Export, and Append when working with geodatabase feature datasets or feature classes.


Perform the following steps in ArcToolbox:

  1. With the Favorites tab selected, right-click on the word ArcToolbox and select Environments > General Settings.
  2. In the General Settings dialog box, scroll down to the box labeled Geographic Transformations and click on the drop-down arrow.
  3. From the list, select the geographic transformations that are typically used in the area or region in which the data is located.
Geographic transformations work in either direction. For example, if the data is within the 48 contiguous states of the USA and is being transformed from NAD 1983 to NAD 1927, the transformation named NAD_1927_To_NAD_1983_NADCON would be selected and will run in the forward or reverse direction as required.
  1. Click OK when the necessary geographic transformations have been added to the list.
  2. Right-click on the word ArcToolbox again, and select Save Settings > To Default. This saves the settings permanently in ArcToolbox, so that the transformations are available in future ArcToolbox sessions.

    For a complete list of geographic transformations that are supported in ArcGIS Desktop and their areas of use, refer to the link entitled Select the correct geographic (datum) transformation when projecting between datums.

    For a complete list of geographic coordinate systems that are supported in ArcGIS Desktop, and their areas of use, refer to the link entitled What geographic coordinate system or datum should I use for my data?.

Article ID:000009983

  • ArcMap 9 x

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