Sharing and connecting to UNC pathnames

Sharing a folder as a UNC pathname

To share your tools or data across a LAN, you need to share the folder containing your toolbox or data so it can be accessed using a UNC pathname.

Sharing a folder across the LAN is a common practice. To share a folder, right-click the folder in either ArcCatalog or Windows Explorer, click Properties, click the Sharing tab, and choose Share this Folder, as shown below.

Sharing a folder

Connecting to an existing UNC pathname

There are three basic ways to access toolboxes and data that are found in a shared folder.

Learn more about managing folder connections

View the interactive tutorial

Creating documents and models that use UNC pathnames

If you are creating a model or map document that is to be accessed by others on your LAN, data within the model or map document must also be accessible across the LAN. If the data resides on your computer, then you have two basic methods for making your data accessible:

The illustration below shows data in a model that is to be accessed by others on a LAN. The model resides in D:/MyTools and the data resides in E:/MyData. Since the model and data are on different disks, relative pathnames cannot be used. In order for it to be found on the LAN, the data must be a UNC pathname.

Use UNC paths to data in a model

Like data in a model, layers in a shared map document must also use UNC pathnames in order for the data to be found on the LAN, as illustrated below.

Map layer using UNC pathname

When you are building your model or map document, you need to add data by browsing or connecting to your shared folder (//cogitator/MyData) as opposed to the local folder (E:/MyData). This way, the UNC pathname is stored rather than an absolute pathname.

All you need to do is to share the folder containing the data as described above, and then browse to this folder when adding data. To facilitate browsing, you can add a connection to the shared folder in ArcCatalog by clicking the Connect to Folder tool Connect to Folder and entering the UNC pathname to the shared folder (\\cogitator\MyData in this example). This will add another entry to your ArcCatalog tree, as illustrated below.

Two folders, one local, one UNC

Now when you add data, you browse to this UNC pathname and the UNC pathname will be stored in the model or document.

See Also