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It turns out that the best way to run long tasks in ArcMap is to use the IProgressDialog2. The BackgroundWorker in combination with ArcObjects (STA Threads) is a mess.

However, it seems that the only implementation from ESRI is the IStepProgressor. In my case I do not need and do not want to show a progress bar. Moreover I do not need the cancel button. Is there a way to remove both things? I want only the text and the circle as you can see in my screenshot my progress dialog

public static void ShowProgressDialog<T>(string message, Action<T> action, T arg)

        ESRI.ArcGIS.esriSystem.ITrackCancel trackCancel = new ESRI.ArcGIS.Display.CancelTrackerClass();

        ESRI.ArcGIS.Framework.IProgressDialogFactory progressDialogFactory = new ESRI.ArcGIS.Framework.ProgressDialogFactoryClass();

        // Set the properties of the Step Progressor
        System.Int32 int32_hWnd = ArcMap.Application.hWnd;
        ESRI.ArcGIS.esriSystem.IStepProgressor stepProgressor = progressDialogFactory.Create(trackCancel, int32_hWnd);

        ESRI.ArcGIS.Framework.IProgressDialog2 progressDialog2 = (ESRI.ArcGIS.Framework.IProgressDialog2)stepProgressor; // Explict Cast

        progressDialog2.CancelEnabled = false;
        progressDialog2.Description = message;
        progressDialog2.Animation = ESRI.ArcGIS.Framework.esriProgressAnimationTypes.esriProgressSpiral;


        trackCancel = null;
        progressDialog2 = null;

share|improve this question
No, the progress dialog was not designed for such customizability. I guess since the dialog you are looking for is pretty plain, should be rather easy in WPF or WinForms to implement it yourself. – Petr Krebs Dec 23 '12 at 11:24
I suppose if you really wanted to you could hack the dialog with Windows API calls but meh... – blah238 Dec 24 '12 at 1:15
Apart from the threading problem it would be even harder to implement a custom busy indicator that blocks the complete ArcMap GUI. You get it for free with the IProgressDialog2... – steffan Dec 27 '12 at 2:45
up vote 3 down vote accepted

I agree about using the IProgressDialog2 with ArcGIS over other methods of showing progress. It always seems more reliable. I often use it for long running queries where I want to give the user the ability to cancel but don't know how long the query will take. In these cases I instantiate the dialog just like you do but before calling the action I simply hide the step progressor. The rest of the dialog will function and appear as normal. Add this just before you invoke the action:


I don't know of a way to remove the cancel button.

share|improve this answer
Thank you! That was exactly what I was looking for. I think/hope the user can live with the cancel button. At least it is possible to disable the button. – steffan Dec 27 '12 at 15:13

Cast the ProgressDialog as IProgressor to .Hide the progressor. Cast to IProgressDialog to set CancelEnabled to true.

share|improve this answer
Hiding the progressor is a duplicate of my answer Jason. Setting CancelEnabled to true does not remove the cancel button as the OP desired. – Rich Wawrzonek Dec 26 '12 at 19:50

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