ArcGIS Desktop – Tutorial On Customizing ArcMap Toolbars and Keyboard Shortcuts

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ArcMap allows for a large amount of customization. It’s just a matter of taking the time to set it up the way you want. If you want to add or remove a button from a toolbar, you can. Menus can be customized the same way, but for this guide I’m focusing on toolbars.

In order to start customizing toolbars, you need to be in Customize Mode.


Once the Customize window is open, you can begin manipulating the toolbars. Right click on a button, and you can now delete it, as well as a few other options.



If you delete a button, and want to get it back you can click on the Commands tab of the Customize window and on the left side select the name of the toolbar which originally contained the button. The available buttons will appear on the right side of the window. Simply drag one up to a toolbar in order to add it back.


One of the first ArcMap customizations I make on a fresh install is adding the Start, Stop, and Save editing buttons to the Editor toolbar. It’s just a lot easier than going into the Editor menu every time.



You can also add often used geoprocessing tools to a toolbar. In the Customize window, go to the Commands tab and on the left side scroll down all the way to the bottom. Click on Geoprocessing Tools, and then click the Add Tools button. Browse to the Toolbox containing the tool you’d like to add. The tool will then be available on the right side of the window. Simply drag it up to the toolbar you want to add it to.

By default, the standard ArcGIS toolboxes are located at:
C:\Program Files (x86)\ArcGIS\Desktop10.x\ArcToolbox\Toolboxes



The final customization for this guide is setting up keyboard shortcuts. Keyboard shortcuts are extremely useful, and can reduce a lot of unnecessary mouse clicking. In the Customize window, click the Keyboard button at the bottom of the window.


In the Customize Keyboard window, in the text box at the top, type the name of the tool you want to add a shortcut for. Then on the left side under Categories click the name of the toolbar that contains the tool, and on the right side under Commands click the tool.

Next, click where it says Press new shortcut key, and choose the keyboard shortcut to assign for the tool. I prefer to use ALT + a number at the top of the keyboard. So, I have different tools assigned for when I press ALT + 1, or ALT + 2, etc. Once you choose the keyboard shortcut, remember to click Assign on the right side of the window.


Hope someone finds this helpful! Please leave any questions, or comments below.

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