How To: Set Up an ArcGIS Developer Subscription (ADS)

ArcGIS Developer Subscriptions (ADS) are a cost-effective way to license multiple ArcGIS products and tools for developing solutions. Many users acquire an ADS to develop custom GIS applications for existing technologies and workflows. Note: An ADS is formerly known as an EDN (Esri Developer Network) License!


There are five different types of subscriptions on offer including:

  • A free “Essentials” unlimited subscription;
  • Or a yearly purchased subscription that includes additional ArcGIS software for development and testing of applications:
    • Builder (includes Desktop Basic)
    • Professional (Desktop Basic + Extensions + Enterprise Advanced)
    • Premium (Desktop Standard + Extensions + Enterprise Advanced)
    • Enterprise (Desktop Advanced + Extensions + Enterprise Advanced + Additional ArcGIS Server Capabilities)


With a yearly ADS you will receive:

  • A Developer Subscription (account for;
  • An ArcGIS Online Development and Test Organisation (new Organisation for with 5 named users for testing your developed applications and a single ArcGIS Pro Named User License);
  • And Licenses (ArcGIS Desktop, and/or ArcGIS Enterprise and ArcGIS Engine) associated with your ADS subscription level in My Esri.


The following post will run through how to set up each of these components once you have purchased a yearly subscription:

  1. Register
  2. Manage in My Esri
  3. License your Esri Software
  4. Connect or create a new Developer Subscription Account
  5. Set up a Development and Test ArcGIS Online Organisation
  6. Get Developing!


1.    Register

a) My Esri Account:

A ‘My Esri account’ is required to register your paid-yearly ADS. My Esri is a website commonly used for managing software downloads and licenses to install and activate Esri products.

  • If you have purchased a yearly subscription without an existing My Esri Account, an email will be sent with a URL to establish your new My Esri Organisation and set up your login details.
  • If you already have a My Esri account with an Organisation, simply log into My Esri ( to get started.
  • Confused about My Esri Organisations? Visit our help page here.


b) Registration:

Developer subscriptions must be registered to your My Esri account through the ‘Developer Subscription Registration’ online form:

  1. Sign into My Esri with your account created in step (a). Please make sure that this account does not have an ADS already associated with it (if this is the case, return to step (a) to create a new account).
  2. Navigate to: My Esri > My Organisation > Licensing > Additional Licensing Forms > Developer Subscription Registration > then input your ADS code.





2. Manage in My Esri

Once your ADS is registered, you can manage the users associated with your subscription through My Esri.

Access the “Manage Developer Subscriptions” tab by navigating to: My Esri > My Organisation > Licensing > Manage Developer Subscriptions. From this page you will be able to see the subscriptions registered to your My Esri Organisation, including: type, ADS number, and the expiry date of active and expired ADS (including old EDN subscriptions). Note: If you are unable to see the Manage Developer Subscriptions tab, sign out and sign back into your account, as this will ensure the changes from step (1) take affect.

If managing several ADS, the “Subscription Users” tab will show a table with a list of users linked to your Developer Subscriptions. You can optionally connect any users outside of your My Esri Organisation to your Organisation, which will grant them access to e-Learning and provides you with the ability to grant additional permissions to their My Esri account.





3. License your Esri Software

Once you have registered your Developer Subscription, you will also see a new tab under My Organizations called “Developer“. This is where you can access downloads and licensing associated with your ADS. Note: This tab is separate to the “Licensing” tab (which only contains licenses for your My Esri Organisation, separate to your ADS licenses). If you are unable to see the Developer tab, please sign out and sign back into your account, to ensure any account changes have taken affect.



Use the authorisation codes in this tab to license your ArcGIS Software products applicable to your yearly subscription. A list of products available for each subscription can be found here. Assistance for authorisation of your various ArcGIS software products can be found here.



4. Connect or Create a Developer Subscription Account

a) What is a Developer Subscription Account?

The status of your ADS will remain pending in My Esri until you activate your Developer Subscription through the “ArcGIS for Developers” website. Activating this will create a new account for the website above, that is used to develop, test, deploy, and track your developed applications.


b) Activate your Developer Subscription Account

Navigate to: My Esri > My Organizations > Developer > then select the Activate button.




Once selected, you will be redirected to the ArcGIS for Developers website where your associated My Esri account will be converted to a Developer Subscription account.

Note: There are two cases where you will not be able to convert your My Esri account to a Developer Account. Instead you will need to create a new account:

  • If your My Esri account is already participating in an ArcGIS Online Organization Subscription (you use the same username for ArcGIS Online and My Esri)
  • If your My Esri account already has data associated with it


Once your ArcGIS Developer Subscription Account is activated, the Developer tab in My Esri will now display your username and a button to access the ArcGIS for Developers account:




5. Set up a Development and Test ArcGIS Online Organisation

After activating your Developer Subscription Account, you will be prompted to create your ArcGIS Online Development and Test Organisation. This ArcGIS Online Organisation includes 5 Named Users for testing your applications, and for accessing Named User licenses for ArcGIS Pro and Premium Apps depending on your ArcGIS Developer Subscription Plan.

  • This can be completed by either clicking the Activate button in the Developers tab in My Esri (see 4. above), and following the prompts;
  • Or selecting the “Setup Dev and Test Organization” green button in your now established ArcGIS for Developers Account (go to



  • Then follow the prompts to fill in your Organisation’s name and URL:



Once completed, your ArcGIS Online Development and Test Organisation will be directly accessible through the “Developer” tab in My Esri; or accessible by logging into ArcGIS Online with your Developer Subscription Account created in step (4).

Log into ArcGIS Online to invite up to 5 users for development and testing purposes, and assign ArcGIS Pro licenses and additional products to their usernames.

If you wish to check on your Developer plan activity, including tracking the number of applications you’ve developed and credits used, navigate to ArcGIS for Developers and select “Profile” from the drop down next to your name in the right-hand corner of the web page, then select “Plan Status”. This will provide an outline of credits remaining:




6. Get Developing!

Now that your ADS is set up, you may wish to try a Developer tutorial in the ArcGIS DevLab collection. ArcGIS DevLabs guide you through the three phases of building geospatial apps: data, design, and develop. Each tutorial is timed, you can start building your own app in 15 minutes!

If you have any further queries about your ADS or need help, visit the Developer help document, or the Developer support page.

Happy Developing!


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