I am trying to save some tools that I have created into the default toolbar layout that is present when ArcMap 10.1 is launched.

It is possible to change the arrangement of toolbars, add new ones and even add in existing tools, but any custom tools I set in the commands category "geoprocessing tools" are gone and do not appear in the toolbar. How can I save these custom tools to the default layout that appears on startup?


Saving a document with the custom tools added and reopening it preserves the tools, but opening a template (10.1 mxd) containing the tools, then opening and older document will cause the tools to disappear. Oddly enough, any other changes made after the custom tools were added are preseved.

Update (03/18/2014):

I have upgraded to 10.2 and this has still not been fixed. I did not see this issue in the 10.21 changelog so I doubt it will address it. For those interested in this issue, I have started a forum post on the ESRI forums here.

  • 1
    have you checked out this link from the resources page? resources.arcgis.com/en/help/main/10.1/index.html#//… – Craig Mar 5 '14 at 18:45
  • Yeah I have done everything by that specification, and it works, except that custom tools are not saved. – Eyrofire Mar 5 '14 at 18:48
  • To encourage more testing by other potential Answerers, I recommend that you edit your Question to include the precise steps that they should follow to try and reproduce this. If this is a bug then you should be able to get an NIM bug number to be issued via your local Esri Support. With ArcGIS 10.3 now in Beta (I think), it is an ideal time to try and get a reproducible test case to someone on that Beta Program. – PolyGeo Jun 3 '14 at 23:47
  • When you create a new toolbar, are you going into the Options tab, and unchecking "Create new toolbars and menus in the document"? – neuhausr Sep 25 '15 at 20:17
  • This bug still (sigh...) exists at 10.3.1. – Stu Smith Feb 16 '17 at 18:34

You can accomplish this by creating a new template. If you create an mxd, and add the custom tools or models you want, then save the document to the "my Templates" directory, you can select that mxd as the template when opening arcmap. Your custom tools will be in the toolbars you added them to. It is not the same as editing the normal.mxt, but is probably better, because it preserves the normal template in its original state.

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I did this on 10. I think the same will work on 10.1 For the properties on my Normal.mxt I made sure that the Read-only attribute was unchecked. I then opened a .mxd and added a custom tool to a custom toolbar and saved the .mxd. I then Verified that Normal.mxt was updated. I then checked the read only attribute on Normal.mxt. For the original .mxd and any other .mxd I opened the custom tool was on my custom toolbar. I think tat is what you want

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  • I followed the instructions but it did not work. The Normal.mxt file is not marked read-only. I can see by the date modified that when I save it, some changes are being made. – Eyrofire Mar 6 '14 at 18:48
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    After you made the toolbar changes and exited the .mxd did you then change the normal.mxt properties to Read only? If need be I can find a 10.1 machine to test my steps on – Ralph Dell Mar 6 '14 at 20:31
  • No, I did not. Following you comment I tried it again but that did not work either. – Eyrofire Mar 6 '14 at 21:50
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    I was wrong. In 10 the custom tool was saved across .mxd's. I upgraded to 10.1, and went through the same steps and the custom tool was not saved across .mxd's. If I find a solution I will post the answer. – Ralph Dell Mar 7 '14 at 19:00
  • This a strange bug then. I will be going through an update to 10.2 soon and post whether or not it solves the issue. – Eyrofire Mar 7 '14 at 20:33

ArcMap customize options are verified during its startup. Steps below helps set the options first and then set toolbars and menus accordingly. Thus menus and tools are retained in Normal.mxt.

  1. Start ArcMap -> Customize -> Options
  2. Uncheck following options Save all customizations to the document Create new toolbars and menus in the document
  3. Close Customize
  4. Close ArcMap
  5. Start ArcMap -> Customize and set all your tools and menus
  6. Close ArcMap (New Menus and tools will be saved in Normal.mxt)
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