At 10.7.1, I have a simple model that is supposed to add the final FGDB feature class to the ArcMap display:

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I also have the correct Geoprocessing option set:

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I run the tool in ArcMap by double-clicking it from its toolbox, not from within the editor window, as explained in this SE GIS post.

Sadly, the feature class is not added to the display. However, the model really does create the feature class, and I can manually add it to the display.

What am I missing?

  • I think the 'Add to Display' only works when you run the model it's editor window. Does it work when you run it that way? Mar 24, 2020 at 23:46

2 Answers 2


Eureka! It is possible to add the output of a Modelbuilder model to the ArcMap Table of Contents without exposing it as a user parameter!

How? Simply add the Collect Values tool as the last step in the model. Connect the previously last step to Collect Values, then parameterize Collect Values. Simple!

I inadvertently stumbled across the answer in the Collect Values tool help:

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  • Great find, again another unexpected aspect of model builder. One more thing, if your feature classes get deleted when utilising an iterator, Collect Values make them stay!
    – fatih_dur
    Dec 7, 2022 at 8:24

You need to make the final output feature class a model parameter. The Add to Display setting is only used when run in "Edit mode" (ie from the ModelBuilder window).

When running as a tool, outputs need to be parameters if you want them added to the map.

  • Unfortunately, the output location is critical (and thus must be hard-coded), so I can't risk exposing that path location to the user as a parameter. Additionally, this model will be stored as a toolbar button, and therefore cannot be run in edit mode. Sigh... this is like an automobile company telling me that their latest model comes with air conditioning - only to find that it will only work in the arctic winter with the windows rolled down. I feel like I'm in ESRI hell.
    – Stu Smith
    Mar 25, 2020 at 23:29
  • Mmmm, not to be unsympathetic, but this is the GP framework and how it's worked forever. If you want interaction with the map, from within the app, you need parameters, whether they are input or output. You could maybe build a small Python script tool that imports/runs your model and then you make use of a derived, output parameter. User doesn't see derived in the UI despite it being a parameter because its handled by the tool itself.
    – KHibma
    Mar 25, 2020 at 23:54

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