Create datasets

One of the data sources that can be used in Insights is feature layer items. Feature layers can be created by importing a dataset in Insights, publishing a dataset from ArcGIS Pro, publishing a dataset in your organization, or sharing a dataset from Insights. All feature layer items that you create or that are shared with you will be available to use in Insights, regardless of how they are created.


Datasets can be created in Insights desktop through importing a dataset and saving a dataset. Feature layers cannot be published directly to Insights desktop from ArcGIS Pro. However, feature layers that have been published to an ArcGIS organization can be accessed in Insights desktop using an ArcGIS connection.

Feature layers can be accessed from the Datasets tab Datasets on the home page or added to a workbook from the Content, Groups, or Organization tabs of the Add to page pane.

Import a file

You can import data from the following sources in Insights:

  • Microsoft Excel workbook (.xlsx)
  • Comma-separated values (CSV) file (.csv)
  • GeoJSON file (.json, .geojson, or .zip)
  • File geodatabase (in a .zip file)
  • Shapefile (in a .zip file)

In Insights in ArcGIS Online, files have a maximum size of 100 MB. Files can be published to create a feature layer, or added to an Insights page as a table.

In Insights in ArcGIS Enterprise, GeoJSON files in .zip format are supported for deployments using ArcGIS Enterprise 10.7.1 or later. You can also add a compressed GeoJSON as a file with ArcGIS Enterprise 10.7 or later.

File geodatabases are not supported in Insights desktop.

Use the following steps to create a dataset by importing a file:

  1. If a workbook is open in Insights, save your work and click the Home button Home to return to the home page. If you are signing in to or launching Insights, you will be brought to the home page automatically.
  2. Click the Datasets tab Datasets.
  3. Click New dataset.

    The New dataset window appears.

  4. Do one of the following:
    • Click Browse and open the file you want to use to create a dataset.
    • Drag a file to the New dataset window.
  5. For files with a .zip extension (shapefiles, file geodatabases, and some GeoJSON files), set the Type parameter to the correct data format. You can also update the name, tags, and summary for the dataset. Click Add.

Excel files, CSV files, and GeoJSON files (.json and .geojson) will begin loading automatically once added to the New dataset window.

The dataset is added as a feature layer item. You can now move the dataset to a folder, share the dataset, or manage the item details.

Publish from ArcGIS Pro or ArcMap

You can publish a feature layer from ArcGIS Pro or ArcMap to be hosted in your ArcGIS organization. When you publish a hosted feature layer, data is copied from your data source to your organization. The published hosted feature layer references the data in your organization, not the data source.

An Internet connection is required to publish from ArcGIS Pro or ArcMap to your organization. The speed and bandwidth of your connection affect the time it takes to publish the feature layer.

Follow the steps in the ArcGIS Pro help help or ArcMap help to publish a hosted feature layer from these applications.

For more information on hosted feature layers, see Feature layers.