I'm using ArcGIS 10.2 for Desktop and wish to remove/delete a layer from the Table of Contents.

I cannot find such hotkey. I have tried the DELETE button but that does not do it.

Also such hotkey is missing in the ArcGIS Help.

2 Answers 2


I just tested using ArcGIS 10.2.2 for Desktop and my expectation was that highlighting a layer (or layer group) in the Table of Contents would activate the Remove button on the Standard toolbar - but it did not. I also tried the Delete key and Ctrl-X but neither of them allow you to remove a selected layer either.

As far as I can tell the only ways to remove a layer from the Table of Contents are:

  • from the Main Menu use Edit | Remove
  • from a layer's context menu choose Remove

There is no shortcut key to remove a layer documented on the Keyboard shortcuts in ArcMap page so I think you can assume that one does not exist.

  • 2
    I also tried adding a keyboard shortcut manually via > Customize > Keyboard, then Categories = Layer. The shortcut is set, and shows up when you right-click on the layer and choose Remove - but the shortcut doesn't actually work. Presumably the keyboard shortcut is unable to access the layer's context menu. Aug 11, 2014 at 6:41
  • 1
    I have found a tricky way to delete layer using only a keyboard, but it is not as fast as I expected, also after deleting a layer - keyboard cursor (selection) is moved at the top of table of content (TOC). So this way is not suitable for fast layers deleting. My task was deleting every second layer in TOC for about 200 layers (that was really slow with a mouse). Here is the method: 1)select a layer(s) 2)push Menu key at keyboard 3) press R Aug 11, 2014 at 6:53
  • @user2829863 for that many layers, I'd be tempted to write a Python script using arcpy.mapping RemoveLayer Aug 11, 2014 at 7:01
  • @Stephen Lead your procedure doesn't work since that command is not aware of the selected layer. Although PolyGeo's method works. May 24, 2016 at 15:45

To remove all layers quickly from the table of content in Arc GIS, I do this:

  1. Left Click on the Layers / the selected Group of Layer Name

  2. Select All Layers (All layers will be highlighted in blue)

  3. Left Click on any layer name that is highlighted in blue

  4. Click Remove

  • If you have 200 or more layers and you have to choose every second layer - mouse clicking is very slow. Keyboard manipulations is much faster. Oct 1, 2015 at 5:17

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