I am a coop student who is close to finishing my second GIS coop term, and once again coming across the issue the fact that when my computer is wiped all the links to my files in ArcMap will be broken. For example, I created a few different ModelBuilder processes on my computer, if I put it on the shared local drive I will have to go through all the input and output files in the model and rename and remake folders.

Is there a way to make the files pathways dynamic, or some way of saving all the files to a process so that I will not have to change all the pathways on every different drive?

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    In ArcMap go to File::Map Document Properties and select relative paths... then put your data into subfolders from where your MXD is. As long as you move/copy your whole tree ArcMap will be able to find the data. – Michael Stimson Dec 5 '18 at 0:02

The Map Document Properties dialog box contains fields and options that help you make your map document more usable. This dialog box also displays times when the document was last saved, last printed, or last exported.

From ArcMap, click File > Map Document Properties. From ArcCatalog or the Catalog window, right-click the map document in the tree view and click Properties.

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You can define how path references are maintained in your document by checking or unchecking Store relative pathnames to data source. If this box is checked, paths are stored as incomplete paths that are relative to the current location of this document on disk. Using relative paths makes the map document more easily portable because ArcGIS will resolve the paths to the document's data sources relative to the document's current location in the file system rather than by full paths that include a drive letter or machine name.

Using relative paths doesn't mean that the layers in your document will never need repairing. Even with relative paths, it is still possible for a document to be unable to find its data sources if the document or the data sources are moved to a different location relative to each other, such as to a different part of the folder hierarchy or to a different disk.

This setting only applies to how the document references file-based data (such as file geodatabases, shapefiles, coverages, and raster files) and data in personal geodatabases. It has no effect on how the document references data on servers. Layers representing data and services on these servers reference them directly by server name rather than via paths.

This property can't be changed if you accessed this dialog box by right-clicking a document in the Catalog window (unless the document you right-clicked is the current document you have open in the application) or in ArcCatalog.

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