Invalid Raster dataset. Failed to insert picture element

Last Published: April 25, 2020

Error Message

Opening an existing map document (*.mxd) file produces the following error:

"Invalid raster dataset. Failed to insert picture element."


An inserted picture element in the Layout of the map document has become corrupted or is empty. This can be caused by moving the source of the inserted picture on disk, renaming the picture, or deleting it altogether. An inserted picture, by default, will only contain a path pointer to the raster file like a layer. If anything happens to the raster on disk that does not allow ArcGIS to locate it, the picture element becomes invalid (empty) and the error message is the result.

Solution or Workaround

The invalid element must be removed. The document can then be recreated with the new copy of the raster.

  1. Click OK to the error message to gain access to the MXD.
  2. Go to the Layout view.
  3. From the Edit menu select Select All Elements. This places graphic editing handles around the extents of the invalid picture.
  4. Pan to the general area of where the picture was located.
  5. Select only the empty boxes where the inserted pictures used to be.
  6. Zoom out to the full extent of the layout, and ensure no other elements (legend, data frames, titles, etc.) are still selected.
  7. Press the Delete key, or use the Edit > Cut option to remove the selected empty picture elements from the layout.
  8. Save the MXD.
There may be more than one invalid picture element in the map document. If you get the same error message reopening the document, repeat the process until the error message stops. If it does not, then there could be other corruptions in the MXD. Contact ESRI Technical Support for further assistance.

To avoid this error in the future, you can store the picture within the map document. In the Properties of the inserted picture, on the Picture tab, there is a check box for "Store Picture as Part of the Document". This option will store the image data in the MXD file. This will increase the size of your MXD, but will ensure that the picture will always be there. This is NOT suggestible for large files. Small company logos, for example, would be fine.

Article ID:000006163

  • ArcMap 9 x
  • ArcMap 8 x

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