Is it possible to create temporary layers in ArcGIS Pro?

All layers seem to have to be created using the geodatabase format.

For example, if I want to buffer around a point do I need to create a new feature class in the geodatabase to mark the area I want buffered and then create a buffer layer that is either saved as a shapefile or feature layer in the geodatabase again?

  • 2
    Yes you can.... May be you should add a bit more detail?
    – Hornbydd
    Jul 23, 2021 at 12:03
  • Updated above. Not a big issue but I love the use of temporary layers in QGIS and haven't been able to recreate in Arc. Thanks for any help.
    – Robbie-G95
    Jul 23, 2021 at 14:44

1 Answer 1


You can write output data to memory, see: Write geoprocessing output to memory

Writing geoprocessing outputs to memory is an alternative to writing output to a geodatabase or file-based format. It is often significantly faster than writing to on-disk formats. Data written into memory is temporary and is deleted when the application is closed, so it is an ideal location to write intermediate data created in a ModelBuilder model or Python script.

But I dont know of an easy way of creating an empty "Temporary scratch layer" as in QGIS. I usually create a new feature class in the default geodatabase. (Which in ArcGIS Pro takes longer than doing the entire work/analysis in QGIS...)

  • 2
    I like the QGIS method. The ArcGIS suggestion is to create a default poly, line & point layer in the default geodatabase, and store temporary stuff in it, then periodically go in and delete the contents.
    – John
    Jul 23, 2021 at 17:08

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