About configuring the user interface

The ArcGIS for Desktop applications have a default graphic user interface (GUI). You can alter the way the desktop application's GUI appears, and you can expose functionality that has been developed to extend the functionality of the desktop applications.

When you first open a Desktop application, such as ArcMap, there is a set of menus, toolbars, and dockable windows that is visible. You may want the ArcMap interface to reflect your own preferences and the way you work. All the Desktop applications share the same robust configuration model that includes the following capabilities:

These tasks are completed via simple drag-and-drop operations inside the applications. None of these tasks requires any special permission, and all are easy to accomplish, requiring no coding. In addition, these configuration changes are automatically saved; the next time you open ArcMap, for example, the layout of the GUI will remain how you previously configured it.

Using the Customize dialog box

The principal way to tailor an application to suit your needs is to use the Customize dialog box. Click Customize on the main menu, and click Customize Mode to open the Customize dialog box.

Opening the Customize dialog box puts you in customize mode, which offers the following capabilities:

The screen capture below shows the Customize dialog box in ArcMap.

Accessing the Customize dialog box

Changing your application's appearance back to the factory settings

Configuration changes are saved in template documents; for example, ArcMap keeps its changes in Normal.mxt. If you radically change an application and later decide you would like to reset it to its original settings, delete the application's Normal template file. Upon startup, the desktop applications will regenerate their Normal template if they are missing.

Removing your Normal template

The Normal templates—Normal.mxt (ArcMap), Normal.gxt (ArcCatalog), Normal.3dt (ArcGlobe), and Normal.sxt (ArcScene)—are located in your user settings folder. For example, in Windows 2000 or XP, the ArcMap Normal.mxt can be found in C:\Documents and Settings\<User>\Application Data\ESRI\Desktop10.0\ArcMap\Templates, and in Windows Vista, it can be found in C:\Users\<User>\AppData\Roaming\ESRI\Desktop10.0\ArcMap\Templates.

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