According to Esri, ArcGIS Pro is not a replacement for ArcGIS For Desktop and both can to be used side by side. I tried migrating/importing Map Document, etc. to ArcGIS Pro but I do not see the same from ArcGIS Pro to ArcGIS for Desktop.

As there are some tools that are currently only available in ArcGIS for Desktop, I can foresee myself going back to ArcMap to do some of my work.

I do not see a way of opening ArcGIS Pro in ArcMap. ArcGIS Pro will create an extension of .mplx for Map Package (for example) and ArcMap will not be able to open it.

Is there a way to open the Projects or Maps save/created in ArcGIS Pro in ArcGIS for Desktop?


2 Answers 2


No. The Common Questions for ArcGIS Pro says:

Map documents (.mxd), scenes (.sxd), and globes (.3DD) can be imported into ArcGIS Pro. Once in ArcGIS Pro, these can be saved as projects (.aprx). Projects are not backward compatible; however, the data used by the application can be accessed by either ArcMap or ArcGIS Pro through the geodatabase, so there can be collaboration at a data level. Services published using ArcGIS Pro can be used and shared with ArcMap. Also, ArcMap and ArcGIS Pro will run side by side, on the same machine, so it will be possible to use both applications for accessing and working with local data and online services.

Although it does not explicitly say that ArcGIS Pro maps cannot be opened in ArcMap that is the consequence of "Projects are not backward compatible".

The ArcGIS Pro Help says something similar:

What happens when I import a map, globe, or scene document from ArcGIS for Desktop?

All the items in the document are imported, if possible, into your project. You can find a log of the import process on the Project pane. Although only one map may open upon import, all the other items, such as the layout or other data frames, are still in the project (each data frame in your map document becomes one map in the project). After the document is imported, there is no link back to the original. Any changes you make in ArcGIS Pro are not reflected in the original document that was imported. Note that you cannot save a project file for use in ArcMap or other ArcGIS for Desktop applications.


As of quarter 1 of 2017, ArcGIS Pro is in fact now being marketed as a replacement for ArcMap. Technical Support will be available until 2025, with software update and patches made available until 2023. Source. (ArcMap 10.8/10.8.1 will be supported further on than the support date of 10.7.1)

It is obvious that this was the plan since the conception of ArcGIS Pro despite the ongoing claims by ESRI to the contrary.

You can migrate from the legacy to the new but going forward expect no or limited support going the other way. You can build your ArcMap document by adding the same data you have in the PRO Project to the ArcMap map document and maintain both versions but's it's probably best to choose one or the other.

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