Understand ArcGIS connections

Insights desktop

ArcGIS connections are available in Insights desktop.

ArcGIS connections are used in Insights desktop to access data from your ArcGIS accounts, license your Insights desktop deployment, access services, and host items. An internet or intranet connection is required to create and use ArcGIS connections.

There are two types of ArcGIS connections: data-only connections and primary connections. You can have multiple data-only ArcGIS connections and one primary connection.

Data-only connections

Data-only connections provide access to feature layers from your content, groups, and organization, and to boundary layers. A data-only connection can be made to ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise versions in general availability or extended support. For information on ArcGIS Enterprise version support, see ArcGIS Enterprise Life Cycle.

An Insights license is not required for the accounts used in data-only connections.

Primary connections

The primary ArcGIS connection is used to license Insights desktop and access services from ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise.

The account used for your primary ArcGIS connection must meet the requirements for Insights users, including an Insights license. Credits will be consumed from your primary ArcGIS connection, if necessary.

If you're using ArcGIS Enterprise, your Insights desktop and Insights in ArcGIS Enterprise deployments must use the same Insights version.

Your Insights desktop setup always has one primary connection. By default, the primary connection is the account used to activate Insights desktop. You can assign a different primary connection either when you create a connection or by editing a connection.


You cannot delete the primary connection or a folder that contains the primary connection.

The primary ArcGIS connection is also used to host items published from Insights desktop. Therefore, if you have more than one ArcGIS account, you should ensure that the account in which you will be using your published items is set as primary.


Use the following resources to learn more: