How To: Modify the default template for ArcMap


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