I am wondering if its possible to create a locked map document?

I have a document that multiple users will be accessing and as a way of preventing them from making any accidental errors, am wondering if I can create a map document that is locked as to prevent any modifications.

  • 3
    If you have ArcPublisher then PMF file can be locked down and shared - from experience .mxd can easily be corrupted/deleted or frozen if other users access it at the same time.
    – Mapperz
    Commented Apr 13, 2012 at 20:26
  • 1
    I have to agree with @Mapperz. If you want to lock people down from making errors in the map document, then this is obviously not something to where people are going to be doing editing, or anything like that. Therefore, it seems like it could safely be designed for viewing only, which would make the ArcPublisher, PMF, ArcReader route optimal. Commented Apr 14, 2012 at 10:37

2 Answers 2


As I can't comment I'll prepend for Roy's answer: This is technically correct but setting the "read only" attribute at this level is very weakly enforced. If you do this with ArcGIS (just tested), when you hit save you'll get a box asking where to save it, but you can then select the original file and over-write it anyway.

There are two better ways:


Assuming the file is stored somewhere with proper network permissions you can use ActiveDirectory permissions (Windows) or chmod (*nix) to ensure the only user who can write to it is yourself.

On Windows access the permissions from [selection] >> File >> Properties >> [Security].

This is the best solution.


Save the file as a template file (mxt in the drop-down for save-types). Depending on how the user then loads the file they won't be able to over-write the original without first setting the save type to templates and going and seeking out the original.

  • You can use security permissions on a single computer, e.g. a standalone workstation without a network, as long as people using the different roles (read-only, editor) use different logins. Commented Apr 13, 2012 at 16:42

Right click the mxd in windows explorer, choose properties, check Read-Only.

This should force 'Save-As' when the user goes to save the map leaving your original in-tact. If you need to make changes to your "template" you'll have to disable this checkmark.

  • 2
    This will make it a lot harder for people to overwrite the MXD, but not impossible, they could still change it using a file manager.
    – Dan C
    Commented Apr 13, 2012 at 15:21

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