I have a toolbox with two models that I am trying to send to someone else. I am working in 10.4 and he is working in 10.3.

I save my toolbox as a 10.3 toolbox and send him the .tbx file, but when he loads the file the toolbox is blank. There is no drop-down button and no models in the toolbox. It is worth noting that when I try to open the 10.3 toolbox in my own project there is nothing there either.

What could be the problem?

Edit: To add to this, I can't share my results as a geoprocessing package either. I get an error that says

General function failure Error 999999: Error executing function.

  • Not going to happen. Toolboxes are not backward compatible. Try exporting the model to a python script and sending that. May 16 '16 at 22:28
  • I had someone send me a toolbox they made a couple weeks ago. It had a model that I could open and edit.
    – Duderino
    May 16 '16 at 22:32
  • 1
    It would have been created in either the same or older version of ArcGis. One trick you can try is to get your friend to send you an empty toolbox created in 10.3 then copy/paste your model into that... it should retain version information. 10.4 will be able to access any toolbox for previous versions but 10.3 will not be able to access a toolbox created for 10.4. May 16 '16 at 22:36
  • Your comment led me to try creating a toolbox in 10.3 and then copy/pasting my models into it. So far it appears to work. Waiting on a reply to see if was able to be opened on another computer.
    – Duderino
    May 16 '16 at 23:03

The best workaround that I have found is to simply create a new ArcToolbox in version 10.4 then in ArcCatalog select all scripts from the problematic toolbox (that was created in the one of the previous version) and copy them into the new toolbox under specific toolset - if applicable (drag and drop also works). This procedure also preserves all help and tool info. There is no need to wait for ArcGIS 10.5 or to install ArcGIS Pro to save ArcToolbox as a previous version. The only drawback of this procedure is that you need to manually create all relevant Toolsets (if you have any). You can copy and paste ONLY scripts and not the toolsets itself. When finished simply save it again in any of the previous versions. To display changes one need to close ArcMap/ArcCatalog, otherwise the changes will not be displayed (refresh does not help).


As @MichaelMiles-Stimson says a 10.4 toolbox would not open on a 10.3 machine. But it is not clear if you have tried Save As? Simply right click on your toolbox and Save As to save in a different version.

Also I have 10.4 and have had troubles with saving backwards when the toolbox contains a script tool (did not seem to affect models). I opened a long discussion on geonet about this here and came to the conclusion that the toolbox was corrupted in some way. :(


Try zipping the toolbox into a folder and sending it that way.

  • Thanks but no luck with that. If I save it as 10.4 I can view it, but as soon as I save it to 10.3 it's blank, regardless of whether I zipped the file or not.
    – Duderino
    May 16 '16 at 22:04
  • This may be a 'stupid question' but does the name of the toolbox contain any spaces? May 16 '16 at 22:06
  • It does not contain spaces but it does contain underscores.
    – Duderino
    May 16 '16 at 22:07
  • Underscores should be fine. I am trying to think what else. May 16 '16 at 22:24
  • To add to this, I can't share my results as a geoprocessing package either. I get an error that says 'General function failure Error 999999: Error executing function'.
    – Duderino
    May 16 '16 at 22:31

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