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Prepare your content

Using the following best practices, you can improve the display of your content on a site and in search results by editing individual items in the ArcGIS Enterprise portal.


Core team members can only edit their own items and items shared to the core team group.

Supported item types

The following list includes all items supported by ArcGIS Enterprise Sites.

Data types
  • ArcPad package (.zip)
  • ArcGIS server stream services
  • Annotation layer
  • Comma-separated values (CSV) collection (.zip)
  • Comma-separated values (CSV) file (.csv)
  • Dataset
  • Explorer layer
  • Feature service (URL)
  • File geodatabase (.zip)
  • Geoprocessing sample (.zip)
  • GeoJSON file (.geojson or .json)
  • Image file (.jpg, .jpeg, .png, tif, or .tiff)
  • Image collection (.zip)
  • Image service (URL)
  • Image service layer
  • Keyhole Markup Language (KML) (.zip)
  • Keyhole Markup Language (KML) collection (.zip)
  • Layer (.lyr)
  • Layer package (.lpk or .lpkx)
  • Mosaic layer
  • Map service definition (.msd)
  • Network dataset layer
  • Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Web Map Feature Service (WFS) (URL)
  • Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Web Map Service (WMS) (URL)
  • Project template
  • Project package (.ppkx)
  • Raster catalog layer
  • Raster layer
  • Rule package (.rpk)
  • Shapefile (.zip)
  • Scene service (URL)
  • Scene layer package (.spk or .slpk)
  • Stream service (URL)
  • SQLite geodatabase
  • Vector tile package (.vtpk)
  • Vector tile service
  • Table
  • Terrain layer
  • Tiled service layer
Maps and apps
  • Application (URL)
  • 360 VR experience (.3vr)
  • CityEngine Web Scene (.3ws)
  • Computer-Aided Design (CAD) drawing (.zip)
  • Desktop application (.zip)
  • Desktop application template (.zip)
  • Map
  • Map package (.mpk)
  • Map template (.mxt)
  • Map service
  • Operations Dashboard add-in (.opdashboardaddin)
  • Project template (.aptx)
  • Web map application
  • Web scenes
  • Document link (URL to online document)
  • iWork Keynote (.zip)
  • iWork Pages (.zip)
  • Microsoft Excel document (.xls or .xlsx)
  • Microsoft PowerPoint (.ppt or .pptx)
  • Portable Document Format (.pdf)

Improve data quality

  • Title—For individual layers, change the title in your portal to be clear and informative. For layers in map or feature services, change the title locally, and publish the service with clean titles.

    Sites will remove any underscores in a title.

  • Description—An item's description is visible in search results and should be clear and informative.

    Layers in map or feature services will take the description of the entire service. If you do not enter a description, Sites will automatically state Description not provided.

  • Field aliases—Change complex GIS data field names to a more user-friendly description of the content of the field. The table on an item's preview page will supply the field name, but not the field alias.
  • License—You can add a license in the Terms of Use section of the item in the portal.
  • Tags—Tags help users discover your datasets through searches. For individual items, add tags in the portal. All layers in map and feature services will have the same tags as those set for the entire service in the portal.
  • Thumbnails—Enterprise portal item thumbnails will appear when an item is displayed on a site or page using the gallery card. All layers in map and feature services will have the same thumbnail.
  • Structured MetadataAdd official metadata files to your Enterprise portal item and users can access it via Sites.

Sites downloads will change the data schema so that all values will be within the signed range of integer values that can be stored in 32 bits. This means that field lengths, field precision, and scale may be altered in the download. The data itself will not change.


Only the following HTML tags will be respected in the Description and License fields in Sites. Text in other tags will appear inline: h3, h4, h5, h6, img, blockquote, p, a, ul, ol, nl, li, b, i, strong, em, strike, code, hr, br, div, table, thead, caption, tbody, tr, th, td, pre.

Register services

Services must be registered to your ArcGIS Enterprise portal to be added to a site. When working with map and feature services, you can register services containing multiple layers, or register the individual layers themselves. Layers from federated services will be in your Enterprise portal automatically.

Register services with multiple layers

This is a quicker way of getting your data live, but it gives you less control over search results and an item's metadata. All layers in the service will have the same description and the same tags, and all layers will appear in search results when a tag or the service name is called.

Register individual layers

Individual layers provide greater control over the item's metadata—you can edit individual titles and descriptions in your Enterprise portal. Each layer will have different tags as set in your Enterprise portal, which will provide better search results for the end user.


To learn more about registering services and service configuration, see Server configuration details.

Add additional download files

All (vector) datasets are automatically available for download as CSV files, KML files, and shapefiles and accessible in the GeoJSON and GeoService APIs. You can add additional download files or related documents by adding custom distributions to the dataset's structured metadata. This is a good way to support CAD file download formats or file geodatabases for nonhosted feature services. Additional download files that you add in the metadata will appear as options in the download section of the dataset page in Sites.

To add additional download files, follow these steps:

  1. On the item page in the home application, click Metadata.
    If you do not see a metadata button, you must have an administrator enable metadata for your portal.
  2. On the metadata form, click Distribution.
  3. On the Online Resource page that appears, click the plus sign.
  4. Enter a URL to your download file or external related link.
  5. Enter a name for the file.
  6. Change the Function parameter to Download.

You can add as many additional download files as you want by repeating steps 3 through 6.


Entering additional distributions in the metadata will expose the entire metadata to the user in Sites. Datasets are encouraged to have complete, structured metadata.