It may seem like a simple question but I haven't found a solution. I have a structure of directories with many shapefiles inside. Is there a method to open all these shapefiles at the same time with ArcMap?

The function "add data" forces me to do it for every directory separately.

  • 3
    use ArcCatalog use the search for shapefiles on the highest directory then select all (CTRL+A) drag and drop into arcmap.
    – Mapperz
    Nov 22, 2013 at 15:45

1 Answer 1


You could first create a Layer Package that contains all of your data and symbology for all the layers. From that point on, you can just load the Layer Package the way you would a layer, and everything just gets loaded up.

Other users will be able to add layer packages directly into their maps without having to know how to access the database or classify the data.

Or, of course, you could just load the data and save it in an MXD, and re-open the MXD...

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