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Install GIS Software

This guide provides instructions for installing and configuring all 3 major GIS software applications(ArcMap, ArcGIS Pro, and QGIS). It covers the similarities and differences of these applications and explains how to get started with common geospatial d

Installing ArcGIS Pro

ArcGIS Pro Installation Instructions

This page will walk you through the process of installing and licensing ArcGIS Pro on your personal computer. Please be aware that ArcGIS Pro software can only be installed and used on a computer that runs the Windows operating system. If you have a Windows PC you can start following the steps below to load ArcGIS Pro onto your machine, but if you are interested in installing the software on a Mac please first refer to the guide in the right column which provides an overview of options for running Windows on your Mac and take care of this set up before proceeding to the installation instructions below.
1. First you will need to download the installation file for the latest version of ArcGIS Pro. The easiest way to get the installer is to download it from your UT linked ArcGIS Online account. If you do not already have a UT linked ArcGIS Online account please follow the instructions in the Set Up your UT ArcGIS Online Account Guide to create your account and log in. Once you have logged in to your account, look at the top right of the page where your user name is located, click on your user name to pull up a small popup window, and then click My Settings. On the My Settings page click on the Licenses tab. Once you are on the Licenses page, scroll down until you see ArcGIS Pro listed and to the right you of it you should see a small Download button. Click on the Download button to pull up a small popup window that allows you to select the ArcGIS Pro version you want to download (the latest version is preselected for you by default so it is not recommended that you make any changes). In this popup window click the blue Download button to follow through with downloading the installer file.
2. Once you have downloaded the installation .exe file, browse to the location of this file on your computer and double click on it to run it. It will ask you where you would like to save the uncompressed installation files. Pick a location on your file system and give it a minute or so to complete the decompression process. You will receive a notification when this process is complete and, if you look closely, you should notice that there is a check box in this notification window. If you leave this checkbox checked, as it is by default, the software installation wizard will open automatically after you close the notification window. This wizard will ask you to accept the Esri ArcGIS licensing agreement and will walk you through a few more simple steps that you can go through fairly quickly as the default settings preconfigured for each step should be fine for most installations (it is best to adjust these setting only if you have a strong reason for doing so). Once you have completed the last step in the installation wizard, the installation process will start and should complete in about 5 minutes though it may take longer on laptops and older desktop computers with slower processors.

Once the software is successfully installed, you will need to make sure that you have an ArcGIS Online account that is linked to the University of Texas ArcGIS Online organization and is licensed to use ArcGIS Pro before you can actually open and start using the program (you will notice that you are prompted to log in with a licensed ArcGIS Online account when you first open the software and you can proceed past this point without entering valid credentials). To create a UT linked ArcGIS Online account, you can follow the instructions provided at and once your accounted is created, open ArcGIS Pro and log in using the Named User License option. See screenshots below for reference as you go through the ArcGIS Pro license configuration process of selecting Named User licensing, selecting the ut-austin ArcGIS Online organization, confirming the ut-austin ArcGIS Online organization selection, and logging in with your UT Austin credentials.

ArcGIS Pro licensing step 1     ArcGIS Pro licensing step 2  ArcGIS Pro licensing step 3  ArcGIS Pro licensing step 4

Options for Running Windows on a Mac

1. Use Bootcamp, which is a free program included by default on all modern Macs, to install Windows as a complementary operating system on the computer. Once Windows is installed, you can choose to boot into Windows at startup or into macOS. To install ArcGIS software, just boot into Windows and startup and follow the steps listed in the center column of this guide. This approach provides ArcGIS Desktop software like ArcMap with full access to the resources (RAM, CPU, etc.) of the computer because it is only running one operating system at a time, but it can be a little complicated to set up and requires rebooting in order to switch between operating systems.
2. Another free option is to download and install VirtualBox on your Mac. Virtualbox is a application that will allow you to install Windows on your Mac and run a virtual instance of it inside the Virtualbox software that can run simultaneously with your other macOS applications. It operates in the same general manner as Parallels and VMWare Fusion which are described below. Keep in mind that this approach may cause ArcGIS software to run more slowly and to experience performance issues, because running Windows and MacOS simultaneously will utilize more RAM than just running Windows on its own using Bootcamp. It does however make it a little easier to move files around and is convenient in that it does not require rebooting to switch between operating systems.
3. The final options is to purchase and install Parallels ($80 full price, $40 education pricing available) or VMWare Fusion ($80) so that you can run Windows in a virtual machine (VM) while booted into macOS. This approach has the same advantages and disadvantages as the Virtualbox approach described above, but paying for a virtualization software product rather than using Virtualbox does entitle you to customer support that you may find useful when configuring Windows on your Mac.

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