Is there a way with ArcPy to identify the version of a Map Document (MXD). I am working on a solution to inventory our MXD's and would like to know if a document is 8.1, 9.2, 10.0, etc.

I am currently using ArcMap 10.0, but if there is an update in 10.1 that does not exist in 10.0, I am interested in that, too.

I see there is a previous question of How can you find ArcGIS version programatically?, but it references all ArcObjects solutions (which I suppose I could call from python, but I would prefer not to).


2 Answers 2


I developed this kludge to parse version numbers from MXD documents. It basically reads the first 4000 or so characters of an MXD document and searches for a version number. I tested with MXD versions 9.2, 9.3, 10.0, and 10.1.

import re

def getMXDVersion(mxdFile):
    matchPattern = re.compile("9.2|9.3|10.0|10.1|10.2")
    with open(mxdFile, 'rb') as mxd:
        fileContents = mxd.read().decode('latin1')[1000:4500]
        removedChars = [x for x in fileContents if x not in [u'\xff',u'\x00',u'\x01',u'\t']]
        joinedChars = ''.join(removedChars)
        regexMatch = re.findall(matchPattern, joinedChars)
        if len(regexMatch) > 0:
            version = regexMatch[0]
            return version
            return 'version could not be determined for ' + mxdFile

Here is an example of scanning a folder for mxd files and printing the version and names

import os
import glob
folder = r'C:\Users\Administrator\Desktop\mxd_examples'
mxdFiles = glob.glob(os.path.join(folder, '*.mxd'))
for mxdFile in mxdFiles:
    fileName = os.path.basename(mxdFile)
    version = getMXDVersion(mxdFile)
    print version, fileName

Which returns this:

10.0 Arch_Cape_DRG.mxd
9.2 class_exercise.mxd
9.3 colored_relief2.mxd
10.1 CountyIcons.mxd
10.0 DEM_Template.mxd
9.2 ex_2.mxd
10.0 nairobimap.mxd
10.0 slope_script_example.mxd
10.1 TrailMapTemplateBetter.mxd
10.0 Wickiup_Mountain_DEM.mxd

The function below is based on Ryan's idea, but is a little more direct. ArcGIS map documents are actually OLE documents, which can be parsed with the oletools module (available on pypi: https://pypi.python.org/pypi/oletools). The function opens the file and reads the version string. Tested with 9.0, 9.3, 10.1 and 10.3, but should work with anything (not sure about 3.x...).

from oletools.thirdparty import olefile

def mxd_version(filename):
    ofile = olefile.OleFileIO(filename)
    stream = ofile.openstream('Version')
    data = stream.read().decode('utf-16')
    version = data.split('\x00')[1]
    return version

if __name__ == '__main__':
    import sys

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