Is there a way (environmental variable) in Arcpy to get access to ArcGIS Desktop AppData (per user) folder. For example, I need to access this folder in 10.2:


Actually, from there I need to access "My Toolboxes" folder!

The reason is that when I upgrade my ArcGIS, I have to change all of my scripts to reflect the new path. Furthermore, if I run the script on another machine the script's path won't be valid.

I need to access this folder in a neat way and I don't want to use an absolute path. As this is a famous folder across the ArcGIS system, I expect an environmental variable for this folder or "My Toolboxes" folder.

  • How do you want to access the folder? What do you hope to accomplish?
    – Aaron
    Jul 15, 2015 at 20:21
  • I need to access to this folder in a clean way. I don't want to use an absolute path. As this is a famous folder across the ArcGIS System, I expect an environmental variable for this folder or My Toolboxes Folder. Jul 15, 2015 at 20:23
  • What is the problem with an absolute path? I am unclear what you ultimately want to accomplish.
    – Aaron
    Jul 15, 2015 at 20:25
  • 1
    When I upgrade my ArcGIS then I have to change all of my scripts to reflect the new path. Furthermore if I run the script in another machine the script the path won't be valid. I think I should have generate the path via python. check the version of ArcGIS and the current OS user and the build the path! Jul 15, 2015 at 20:31
  • The ultimate goal is to use arcpy.ImportToolbox() method Jul 15, 2015 at 20:49

2 Answers 2


A handy hint for 'special' folders is os.environ.get

Some environments that will help you on windows:

SystemRoot (don't write here, but it's handy for reading)

To see a list open a CMD window and type set and press enter, a list will be printed of all environment variables and their values for your local computer.

Your path to toolboxes is aided by arcpy.GetInstallInfo():

"{0}\\ESRI\\Desktop{1}\\ArcToolbox\\My Toolboxes".format(os.environ.get("APPDATA"),arcpy.GetInstallInfo()["Version"])

As a one liner, broken up (for readability):

AppData = os.environ.get("APPDATA") # not case sensitive
II      = arcpy.GetInstallInfo()
Version = II["Version"]             # Case sensitive
TbxFld  = "{0}\\ESRI\\Desktop{1}\\ArcToolbox\\My Toolboxes".format(AppData,Version)

As noted in the comments there is a bug in some versions with the GetInstallInfo()[Version] relating to sub-versions, to avoid this one way would be to:

if len(arcpy.GetInstallInfo()["Version"].split('.')) > 2:
  vString = '.'.join(arcpy.GetInstallInfo()["Version"].split('.')[:-1])
  vString = arcpy.GetInstallInfo()["Version"]
  • 1
    Michael, This is great. Once merged with my own answer, it will become a complete answer. If the user need to access Application Data folder, then your solution is the fit. To access ArcGIS famous folders, as ArcGIS is aware of these pathes (e.g. "My Toolboxes") a simple string (e.g. 'Toolboxes\My Toolboxes\Customtoolbox.tbx') is enough. Jul 15, 2015 at 22:30
  • 1
    Yes it is, in this case a simple string is enough, the intent in this answer is to be general help to find 'special' folders that always exist in windows but may not be in the same place... UserName and ComputerName I use a lot for writing log files onto the server to distinguish where scripts are being run, by whom and if they succeed or fail. Look at the GetInstallInfo() returned dictionary, there's a few priceless gems in there... especially writing scripts to be shared over windows XP, 7 and 8 (32 & 64bit) and ArcGis 10.0 to 10.3. Jul 15, 2015 at 22:45
  • 1
    arcpy.GetInstallInfo() is great. However there is a bug with your code. if the version is 10.2.1, II["Version"] will return 10.2.1. although the minor releases aren't reflected in folders (C:\Users\Farid\AppData\Roaming\ESRI\Desktop10.2). So you should remove the last 1 from the version string Jul 15, 2015 at 22:50
  • 1
    Something like arcpy.GetInstallInfo()["Version"][:4] Jul 15, 2015 at 22:52
  • 1
    '.'.join( arcpy.GetInstallInfo()["Version"].split('.')[:-1]) by breaking up into a list then re-joining less the last element, but only if len(arcpy.GetInstallInfo()["Version"].split('.')) > 2 Jul 15, 2015 at 22:55

What I was looking for is:

arcpy.ImportToolbox(u'Toolboxes\\My Toolboxes\\Customtoolbox.tbx')

I keep my all toolboxes in this folder (Toolboxes\My Toolboxes).

When I need to access one of my custom GP tool from another toolbox I have to import that toolbox.


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