Using geoprocessing options to control tool execution

There are settings on the Geoprocessing > Geoprocessing Options dialog box that control the execution of geoprocessing tools, such as whether tools

Overwriting tool output

The Overwrite the outputs of geoprocessing operations check box controls whether tools automatically overwrite any existing output when run. When it is checked, you receive a warning before tool execution that the output exists, but the tool executes and overwrites the output dataset. With this option off, existing outputs are not overwritten, and the tool displays an error, preventing you from executing the tool.

Geoprocessing log file

Checking the Log geoprocessing operations to a log file check box writes information about a tool's execution to a log file.

Learn more about history log files

Background and foreground processing

The Background processing panel is where you control whether a tool executes in foreground or background mode.

Learn more about foreground and background processing

Script tool editing and debugging

The Editor and Debugger options are where you control which Python IDE (Integrated Development Environment) is used to edit or debug Python script tools.


Check the box next to When connecting elements, display valid parameters when more than one is available if you want ModelBuilder to display available parameters when using the Connect tool in ModelBuilder.

Learn more about using the Connect tool in ModelBuilder

Results management

Each time you execute a tool, a result is added in the Results window.

You want to manage the number of entries in the Results window for two reasons:

To help you manage the number of results, you can choose a duration for keeping results, as shown below.

Keep results younger than option
Keep results younger than option

No data will be deleted—just the entries in the Results window are removed.

When you close the map document, entries older then the duration you choose will be removed from the Results window

Display and temporary data

In the Display/Temporary Data pane, you'll find two check boxes that control the display and permanence of results. The first check box, Add results of geoprocessing operations to the display, is only available if you are working in an ArcGIS Desktop application that has a display, such as ArcMap, ArcGlobe, or ArcScene. It is unavailable in ArcCatalog. By default, this option is checked so that tool results will automatically be added to the display.

The Results are temporary by default check box is only available when the Add results of geoprocessing operations to the display check box is checked. By default, this option is unchecked so that all results are permanent.

When Results are temporary by default is checked

New Layer Visibility

You can control whether newly added layers are visible. In ArcMap, click Customize > ArcMap Options. On the ArcMap Options window, click the General tab. On the General panel, check Make newly added layers visible by default if you want layers added by geoprocessing tools to be visible, and uncheck it if you want layers to be non-visible.