I am looking for a way to access a .mxd file's layer names and data sources.

In ArcGIS Desktop, I could do:

def print_layer_info(mxd_path):
    print(mxd_path + ":")
    mxd = arcpy.mapping.MapDocument(mxd_path)

    for df in arcpy.mapping.ListDataFrames(mxd, "*"):
        lyr = arcpy.mapping.ListLayers(mxd, "", df)[0]
        if lyr.supports("dataSource"):
            print "\t" + lyr.name
            print "\t\t" + lyr.dataSource
    del mxd

According to http://pro.arcgis.com/en/pro-app/arcpy/mapping/migratingfrom10xarcpymapping.htm, I could do:

p = arcpy.mp.ArcGISProject("file.mxd")

But that doesn't work. When I do that I get a OSError.

Since the arcpy.mapping.MapDocument is gone in ArcPy for ArcGIS Pro, what is the equivalent way of reading layer name and datasource of an .mxd file?

2 Answers 2


You can list the layers and the datasources of an MXD (ArcMap document) from ArcGIS Pro by simply importing the MXD into a project, and then following the same workflow you would do from ArcMap. (The syntax may vary a little).

  • Load up a project (like current, as the following code is run from the Python window)
  • Load the MXD into it
  • Find the map
  • List the layers


p = arcpy.mp.ArcGISProject("CURRENT")
for m in p.listMaps(): print(m.name)
> Layers
mxd = p.listMaps("Layers")[0]
for l in mxd.listLayers():
    if l.supports("dataSource"):
        print("{}, {}".format(l.name, l.dataSource))
> World Ocean Reference, 
> foo1, source1
> foo2, source2
> World Ocean Base, 
  • I was asking for a ArcPy-only solution. I need to process thousands of mxds, so I don't want to manually open ArcGIS Pro and then do an import for every single MXD.
    – sdMarth
    Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 19:39
  • 3
    This is an arcpy only solution. If you mean you want to run the code entirely outside ArcGIS Pro, then make 1 dummy/template Project, reference that instead of current and just import MXDs into that. Since there is no map "remove" option from the project class, trash your p reference for each run and re-establish it, thus importing into a "new-blank" project.
    – KHibma
    Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 19:51

It is not possible to use the arcpy.mp module that comes with ArcGIS Pro to create a MapDocument object from an *.mxd.

To do that you use arcpy.mapping from the arcpy site-package that comes with the ArcGIS Desktop 10.x architecture and works against the ArcMap application.

To work with the content of an *.mxd in ArcGIS Pro (or the arcpy which it installs) you would first need to import the *.mxd into an ArcGIS Pro project (and then create ArcGISProject and Map objects from that).

  • Can I programmatically create a ArcGIS Pro project or would I have to manually do it? Ultimately, I'm writing a script to automate over many .mxd files.
    – sdMarth
    Commented Sep 19, 2018 at 21:48
  • Welcome to GIS SE! As a new user be sure to take the Tour to learn about our focussed Q&A format. That should be asked as a new question.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Sep 19, 2018 at 22:04
  • I would also like to know if there's a way to create a virtual ArcGIS Pro Project using arcpy. I am only interested in being able to read information about layers in an .mxd
    – sdMarth
    Commented Sep 21, 2018 at 15:30
  • What do you mean by a "virtual ArcGIS Pro Project"? In any event it sounds like you may need to ask a new question about that.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Sep 21, 2018 at 19:34

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