Adding WMS services

WMS server content can be used in ArcMap (as well as ArcGlobe) as map layers.

To add WMS services to your map, do the following:

Add a WMS service to ArcMap using the Add Data dialog box

  1. Click the Add Data button Add Data on the Standard toolbar to open the Add Data dialog box.
  2. Click the Look in arrow and choose GIS Servers. This gives you a list of servers you have previously used.

    If the server you want is not listed, you can connect to a WMS server.

  3. After connecting to a WMS server, the service is shown in the Add Data dialog box with this icon: WMS Service.
  4. Select this service, or double-click to access each of the WMS service sublayers, and select a specific sublayer.
  5. Click Add.

    The service is added as a map layer.


WMS services allow you to add one or more sublayers. You can select a group of sublayers by pressing SHIFT and clicking the first and last sublayer in the group you want to add, or you can select nonsequential sublayers by pressing CTRL and clicking each. After selecting the sublayers you want, click Add to add them to your map.

When you add individual WMS sublayers, you will create one WMS service entry in the table of contents for each sublayer you add. Additional service layers require additional requests to the server, which can affect performance. To minimize these requests, you may want to add an entire WMS layer and use the Layers tab of the Properties dialog box to turn the display on and off for the WMS sublayers.


A WMS service doesn't define which of its layers appear turned on when you initially access it. ArcGIS automatically turns on the first 10 layers in any WMS service you add to a map or preview in ArcCatalog.

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