I wrote a python script to convert 10.5 mxd to 10.4 mxd.

However, in the saveACopy("mxd", "version") method, '10.4' is not in the list of possible values. If I open ArcMap 10.5 and manually "Save a copy..." there is a choice for 10.4.

I don't know if it's because 10.3 mxd and 10.4 mxd are the same, but when I try to open a 10.4 mxd with ArcMap 10.3, there is a version mismatch and it pops an error.

Is this perhaps happening because Esri forgot to update this part of the python api with version 10.5?

ArcMap 10.5.1, is the only version ever installed on the OS (Windows 10, running in a virtual machine). Nothing else is installed other than QGIS 2.18.10 and Firefox.

When running mxd.saveACopy('myfilename.mxd', '10.4'), it throws an error, saying that possibles values are '10.3', '10.1', '10.0', etc. The same value list as in the doc here

  • 3
    If you can't save as 10.4 then save as 10.3. MXD documents are forward compatible but not backward compatible i.e. you can open in a more recent version than the document but not in an older version. As for why this is happening I can't say, it could be that some lib wasn't overwritten in the update or could be a bug, the only way to know for sure is to get a fresh computer (just the OS) and install 10.5 on it and see if the option is offered there, if it is then there is an update bug, if it isn't then perhaps there isn't a 10.4 version MXD save as. Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 21:36
  • 1
    What happens if you try mxd.saveACopy('myfilename.mxd', '10.4')?
    – Midavalo
    Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 21:51
  • What version of ArcGIS Desktop are you using when you try to use its ArcPy to do this? What does the help of that version say about saveACopy?
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 22:04
  • There is a technical article about it, on the Esri website which might be helpful: http://support.esri.com/en/technical-article/000011219
    – GeoDev
    Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 22:28
  • See the edited question for the answers to questions Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 23:01

2 Answers 2


I can confirm this. I have 10.5 installed and I also do not get the option to save as 10.4.

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However, there is also no option for saving as 10.2. This is because MXD documents saved in 10.2 can be opened in 10.1.

enter image description here

My first thought was that documents saved as 10.4 can be opened in 10.3. But I was able to test this and it doesn't work.

So, it's likely that this is a bug. I suggest you log this with Esri.

  • Indeed, there is no 10.2 as well (i didn't have the list when writing those lines). It does look like a bug... Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 23:26
  • I may be pessimist, but I don't think we'll ever this a fix for this in at least a few months, IF there is a fix one day... Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 23:48
  • 1
    ESRI just confirmed that this is really a bug in their API (BUG-000103896). Commented Jul 14, 2017 at 15:48

As @GobTron said it is a documented bug that Arcpy can't save any version between 10.3 and 10.6: "BUG-000103896 - The saveACopy method in ArcPy does not create the same version as the one created when using the ArcMap GUI." It's status is "In Product Plan". The only published workaround is to save a copy of the MXD using 'File > Save A Copy' from the GUI of ArcMap.

Bug note says this has been fixed in 10.7. Yay!

While waiting for a bug fix to come about here's an AutoHotKey script to make saving old versions with ArcMap slightly less painful: arcmap-save-copy- as-v10-4.ahk. It's a little rough around the edges but works well enough with some care and attention.

Similar thread on Geonet which might yield other solutions: How to save an ArcMap 10.5 MXD as a 10.4 MXD

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