I have a multiple Python scripts that act as geoprocessing tools. I have an ArcGIS Pro Toolbox (.atbx format) defining how to call them. The scripts are in a subdirectory of the location where the .atbx file is stored. I want to be able to move around the directory containing the .atbx file and .py files and have them go on working.

According to the ArcGIS Pro documentation Add a script tool:

If your toolbox is an ArcGIS toolbox (.atbx), this behavior is managed differently. If the script is in the same directory as the .atbx file or is in a child folder from where the .atbx is stored, a relative path is maintained. If the script and .atbx file are completely separate, an absolute path is maintained.

However, I have not seen this happen as described above. I have tried putting the .py files in various locations, including the same folder as the .atbx file. The path to the .py file is always absolute.

I see that the .atbx file format is a zipped archive where each tool gets a .tool directory containing a file called tool.script.execute.link. I have opened this after trying various .py locations and it always shows an absolute path. I tried manually editing it to use a relative path, but the next time I modified anything about the tool in the .atbx file it switched back to an absolute path.

My organisation is using ArcGIS Pro 2.9 for compatibility reasons, if this makes a difference.

So, can I get these .atbx files to store a relative path to my scripts?

Other options if ArcGIS Pro simply won't do this with .atbx files:

  • The scripts are long and under version control, so I don't consider storing them inside the .atbx satisfactory.
  • I could use the legacy toolbox (.tbx) format, but this may be removed from some future version of ArcGIS Pro.
  • In similar circumstances I have used the Python Toolbox (.pyt) format and it has been unwieldy but functional. It remains an option if there is no way to use the .atbx.

1 Answer 1


Sounds like a version issue if you are stuck at 2.9. I just set up a toolbox with a tool pointing to a py file in a sub-folder, moved atbx file and folder into a completely different drive space and it worked as intended. I'm using ArcPro 3.2.1.


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