I'm trying to write a script for a tool in ArcGIS Pro 2.x for an annual workflow where I create five time-peroid directories (named 1-5) and then I create both a new file geodatabase and an ArcGIS Pro project (using the same name as the folder). I then need to set this geodatabase as the default geodatabase.

My script runs to completion and the ArcPy messages state the default to be the newly created one. However, when I open up each new project in Pro, the newly created geodatabase is not set as the default (nor is it even connected).

# 0. Set-up
import arcpy, os, sys
arcpy.env.overwriteOutput = False

# Read in tool string parameter, year
year = arcpy.GetParameterAsText(0)

# Get the pathname to this script 
script_directory = sys.path[0]

# Instantiate ArcGISProject object and assign variable aprx to it
arc_project = os.path.join(script_directory, 'Classification_Project_Template.aprx')
aprx = arcpy.mp.ArcGISProject(arc_project)

# 1. Create new folder for year
new_year_directory = os.path.join(script_directory, year)
if not os.path.exists(new_year_directory):

# Create 5 time-period directories (named 1 through 5) > within each, make a copy of .aprx, create new geodatabase, and set it as the default 
for t in range (1, 6):
    time_directory = os.path.join(new_year_directory, str(t))  
    aprx_copy_name = str(t) + '.aprx'
    aprx_copy_path = os.path.join(time_directory, aprx_copy_name)
    aprx_copy = aprx.saveACopy(aprx_copy_path)
    # Not sure if aprx_copy will suffice as new project object, but created new one, aprx_new, as ESRI documentation states: "The method [saveACopy] creates a new output project file, but the project variable continues to reference the original ArcGISProject object."
    aprx_new = arcpy.mp.ArcGISProject(aprx_copy_path)  
    # Create file geodatabase for each time-period directory 
    geodatabase_name = str(t) + '.gdb'
    geodatabase_path = os.path.join(time_directory, geodatabase_name)
    arcpy.AddMessage('Desired default geodatabase_path is: ' + geodatabase_path)
    arcpy.CreateFileGDB_management(out_folder_path = time_directory, out_name = geodatabase_name)
    aprx_new.defaultGeodatabase = geodatabase_path
    arcpy.AddMessage('Default geodatabase is set to: ' + aprx_new.defaultGeodatabase)
  • Try calling aprx_new.Save() right after aprx_new.defaultGeodatabase = geodatabase_path?
    – Dowlers
    Commented Jun 12, 2019 at 17:48
  • @Dowlers bless you, that worked :) just with lower case s as in aprx_new.save() If you can add this as an answer, I'll make sure to accept it
    – ENIAC-6
    Commented Jun 12, 2019 at 17:56
  • Glad you got it working.
    – Dowlers
    Commented Jun 12, 2019 at 18:00

1 Answer 1


The code needs to save the updated geodatabase path. Add aprx_new.save() right after aprx_new.defaultGeodatabase = geodatabase_path

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