A quick tour of geoprocessing environments

Getting help on a tool's environments

A geoprocessing tool can use any number of environment settings. It is up to the developer of the tool to decide which environment settings will be used by the tool. For system tools developed by ESRI, the tool help will specify which environment settings apply to the tool. To view this information, do the following:

  1. Click the Show Help >> button to display the tool's help panel.
  2. In the tool's help panel, click the Tool Help button. This opens the tool's reference page.

The last section of the tool reference page describes which environment settings the tool will use. Each environment setting is a link to the reference help page for the environment.

Environment levels and hierarchy

There are four levels of environment settings:

Learn more about environment levels and hierarchy

Specifying environment settings

The way you specify environment settings differs for the four levels.

Saving environment settings

Application level settings are saved with your document. You can also save your application level settings to a file for later recall or save them as default settings that will be used for all new documents. You do this through the ArcToolbox window.

Learn more about saving and loading settings

Environments in tool parameters

Some tools have parameters that take their default value from the environment. For example, the Clip tool has an optional XY Tolerance parameter whose default value is retrieved from the XY Tolerance environment setting.