Modify the default template for ArcMap

Last Published: April 25, 2020


The Normal.mxt template can be changed to a customized version that ArcGIS will open when starting ArcMap.


  1. Create a shortcut for ArcMap on the Desktop.
  2. Right click the shortcut and go to Properties.
  3. Click the Shortcut tab. In there the target should read something like this: C:\arcgis\arcexe82\Bin\ArcMap.exe
  4. Add the path to your template; it should look like this:
    C:\arcgis\arcexe82\Bin\ArcMap.exe C:\<Path_to_template>\<template_name>.mxt

    For example:
    To use the template "c:\arcgis\arcexe82\bin\templates\usa\usa.mxt" everytime Arcmap is started, the Target should be:
    C:\arcgis\arcexe82\Bin\ArcMap.exe c:\arcgis\arcexe82\bin\templates\usa\usa.mxt

Article ID:000005738

  • ArcMap 8 x

Get help from ArcGIS experts

Contact technical support

Download the Esri Support App

Go to download options

Discover more on this topic