Is it possible to identify what version (10.0, 10.5 etc.) an ArcMap document (.mxd) has been saved in?

I am aware of ArcPy method to determine ArcMap document version, but I am interested in a solution that does not require ArcPy.

I was hoping for a solution that was easy enough for any user to perform; a "right-click-and-properties" kind of solution. I thought something like this would be a given feature in ArcCatalog, but I cannot seem to find the information there nor in Windows explorer.

1 Answer 1


Map document file (.mxd) is a binary file which can be read using Esri software such as ArcMap. You won't be able to get the information on the version of the map document saved using Windows tools.

You would need to use either of the methods outlined below:

  • use Python or any other programming language to parse/decode the binary content and find out the version (Python solution here);
  • use ArcObjects either with Python (comtypes solution here) or .NET/Java/C++.

I understand that this should be part of out-of-the-box ArcGIS Desktop functionality, but unfortunately it isn't. It should have at least been possible to do this using arcpy, but it's not.

I think comtypes solution with ArcObjects is the cleanest one. You could easily wrap this Python script into a .bat file which can be run on an .mxd file(s).

There is an ArcGIS Idea and another one here you can vote for.

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