i'm trying to create a project template with ArcGIS Pro that uses a shapefile stored on my companies shared network drives. This file contains basic parcel data for our county and is around 500MB in size.

The problem is that when I package this into a project template, instead of referencing the share drive location of the shapefile, it packages the shapefile with the project template file. Not only does this make the project file balloon to about 150MB in size, but once used it extracts out a copy of the full shapefile into the new project folder.

Is there any way to force Pro to save out the absolute path for the shapefile and not simply copy it to the new project template?


Are you creating a package with the correct settings (share inside organization) and the data is referenced within your Project via a UNC (\\server\myshp.shp) path?

From the project package overview help:

When sharing your content within your organization, it's likely that enterprise databases, UNC path data, styles, and connections will be accessible for those consuming the project package. In this case, unchecking the Share outside of organization option is a good choice.

If by chance you're using mapped drives, like z:\drive, despite the fact it's a drive accessible to a bunch of people, it's not understood to be "network" by ArcGIS Pro, it just thinks its local data. In this situation you'd need to share the data and access it via a UNC path in your map, then create your template package, ensuring you have the inside organization option selected.

  • That was the problem! The drive we're using is mapped. Luckily, it was pretty easy to track down the UNC path and substitute that in for the data source. Thanks a lot!
    – Ryan M
    Feb 5 '19 at 22:24

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