I was wondering what book(s) is/are available for learning ArcGIS Desktop functionality.

I would like to use one in conjunction with books on the theory of GIS since even though I can understand the concepts I still have trouble with how to use the more advanced ArcGIS Desktop features.

I understand there are quite a few online tutorials but I do my best learning if I have a book in front of me.

  • ArcGIS is the whole product suite. IS that what you meant, or were you referring to the ArcGIS for Desktop product?
    – jakc
    Commented Jun 23, 2011 at 9:24
  • 2
    In the early days (version 8), there were manual-like books published by ESRI. This included two huge volumes about learning to develop with ArcObjects. Given what ESRI charges for their instructor-led training, I don't think we will be seeing any official manuals any time soon. I took several "less expensive" online courses then copied the content as I was going through it and made my self a manual from that. Commented Jun 23, 2011 at 14:46

3 Answers 3


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I would suggest that the best place to learn anything about ArcGIS Desktop, is in the Tutorials. These are step by step tutorials, with data, and come free with the Desktop Setup. Till 9.3.1, they were present as PDF's in the Documentation folder in C:\Program Files\ArcGIS folder.

From ArcGIS 10 onwards, they are available online here.

Suggestions by other users are:

  • I can suggest two books which can be previewed on Google Books. I have used the second book and it is reasonably good, but the first seems to be still better.

Introducing Geographic Information Systems with ArcGIS: A Workbook Approach to Learning GIS

A unique approach to learning and teaching GIS, updated for ArcGIS 9.3 Introducing Geographic Information Systems with ArcGIS, Second Edition serves as both an easy-to-understand introduction to GIS and a hands-on manual for the ArcGIS 9.3 software. This combination theory-workbook approach is designed to quickly bring the reader from GIS neophyte to well-informed GIS user from both a general knowledge and practical viewpoint.


Introduction to Geographic Information Systems

  • For version 9.3, GIS concepts and ArcGIS Methods is good http://www.consplan.com/arcgis.htm I've been using these books since ArcView 3.2.
  • You can have a look at the ESRI Press catalog.
    They have some very good books, both basic and advanced.
  • Not only are the ArcGIS tutorials free, they are inherent to the software. Just print out the pdf documents and work from them if you're most comfortable working from a hardcopy. It covers anything you could ever need to know, especially if you're a beginner.

I was in the same boat as you, and I used the free training provided on the ESRI.com site to get a pretty good handle on it.

Here's a link. It includes webinars and courses that helped me out.



ArcGIS Help here is the ArcGIS Help site, documentation for all tools/processes

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