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Using ArcGIS for Desktop 10.1 SP1, I just created a map package (.mpk) from a map (.mxd) which had a Python Add-In (.esriaddin) installed.

When I unpacked the .mpk the .esriaddin was neither installed nor present in the folder that was created in C:\Users\Graeme\Documents\ArcGIS\Packages.

Intuitively, I would expect it to be at least present in the package, so am wondering if it that capability has been omitted by accident or design?

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I've never tried it, but, assuming your python would work as a gp script, did you consider creating a gpk and choosing the option to Include Enterprise Geodatabase data instead of referencing the data? – Kirk Kuykendall Jul 2 '13 at 1:48
In this case the Python needs to be an .esriaddin rather than a .gpk because I want it to install a toolbar related to what I call a Desktop Story Map and the raster data is a standalone file because a dependency would make it a very expensive solution for a hobby project. – PolyGeo Jul 2 '13 at 3:42
It might be better to keep them separate and just provide a way for the user to configure the path to the data from the add-in. – blah238 Jul 3 '13 at 6:19
If the add-in is an Additional File to the *.mpk then when unpacked it seems able to find the data with no configuration. – PolyGeo Jul 3 '13 at 10:35
@blah238: Is there any example of data path configuration available online or can you provide a small sample? It would be very useful as I am interested in it and have no experience with config. – Ibe Jul 3 '13 at 19:12

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

No, you shouldn't expect Add-ins to be included in a Map Package. Here's the description from the documentation:

A map package contains a map document (.mxd) and the data referenced by the layers it contains, packaged into one convenient, portable file.

Python Add-ins, however, are not part of the map itself, but instead extensions to the ArcMap environment which add customizations. You may have multiple add-ins and extensions installed, and broadly speaking rendering a map isn't dependent on the extensions or add-ins currently installed into the map environment.

You can, however do the inverse if you want a map document to be distributed with your Add-in: anything included within the Install directory of the Python Add-in will be extracted onto the users system. You could potentially reference an .mpk file you'd included, so that users who had your add-in would automatically get a map document and its related data.

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I've +1-ed your answer but when I added my 2Gb *.mpk (it includes a raster) into the Install subfolder in the folder with the and then ran the latter the *.esriaddin was only 133Kb in size - shouldn't it have been at least 2Gb? – PolyGeo Jul 2 '13 at 1:26
Have you customized your file? Just after running it, you should be able to rename the .esriaddin file to .zip and inspect its contents. Are you also signing the add-in? I've had some issues around signing, and have a custom step in my build procedure to make sure the results are what I expect in the output .esriaddin file. I've uploaded the relevant test example here: – scw Jul 2 '13 at 2:03
I've not done any signing of the add-in nor customised the at this stage. I'm curious to lean more about the steps for including an MXD, GDB & TIF as part of a Python add-in. This does not seem to be a documented process so I'll do some trial and error, and if I don't figure it then I will post a new question. – PolyGeo Jul 2 '13 at 4:38
I now have a solution which works well for me. When map packaging, I choose to have my *.esriaddin included as an Additional File. That way as soon as I have unpacked the 2Gb map package, all I have to do is go to C:\Users\Graeme\Documents\ArcGIS\Packages\myPackage\commondata\userdata, double-click to install it and then turn on the toolbar. – PolyGeo Jul 3 '13 at 2:06
Great! That seems like a good solution, I didn't realize that it'd take arbitrary additional files. If the map-inside-addin approach works, that'd save one step and let you reference relative paths from the add-in code, but that sounds like a great solution for what you need. – scw Jul 3 '13 at 3:24

As an auxiliary answer to my own question I am writing up the outcome of the chat between @scw and I on the "map-inside-addin" vs "addin-inside-mpk" approaches.


His approach would involve me modifying the to also include the *.mpk (or MXD, GDB & TIF it contains) as part of the *.esriaddin.

A double-click on the add-in, extracts the folder to a place within your settings, and it'll stay there, until you either remove the add-in or update it by installing an add-in with the same name but newer 'version'.

When the add-in is installed, its extracted results are placed into %HOMEPATH%\AppData\Local\ESRI\Desktop10.1\AssemblyCache (where %HOMEPATH% is a Windows variable that expands to the current users' home directory). In there, should be a number of directories represented by UUID, one of which should be the add-in. Note: The AssemblyCache folder is only visible if your folder options have hide "OS-protected" files/folders unchecked (which should only be done with care).

The advantage of this approach is that there is a single step install of both data and toolbar but some Python customisation of is needed.


My approach requires me to choose to have my *.esriaddin included as an Additional File. That way as soon as I have unpacked the 2Gb map package, all I have to do is go to %HOMEPATH%\Documents\ArcGIS\Packages\myPackage\commondata\userdata, double-click to install it and then turn on the toolbar. In other words a three step process but with no customisation needed.

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You may need to turn on hidden files/folders as well as "OS-protected" files/folders to be able to see the AssemblyCache folder. – blah238 Jul 3 '13 at 5:41
Thanks @blah238 - it was the hide "OS-protected" files/folders that I needed to uncheck. – PolyGeo Jul 3 '13 at 6:04

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