Calibrate ArcGIS performance: Time rendering

Last Published: April 25, 2020


The instructions provided describe how to capture Desktop rendering times using the PerfQAnalyzer tool (to test editing, see the Related Information section for more details). This is a free, non-supported tool offered to the Esri user community that can be used to assist users in calibrating their ArcGIS Performance.

The PerfQAnalyzer tool can run as an ArcMap add-in or as a standalone application. The standalone (no map) version can also be run, but is used to edit scripting only.

Rendering times are reported for each layer as well as for all layers within the map document. Additionally, individual rendering times are reported for background, geography, annotation and selection layers.

The latest version of PerfQAnalyzer, 10.8 (Build 173), is compatible with earlier released versions of ArcGIS, Versions 10.2 through 10.7.1. The tool may be downloaded from the following page:


These instructions are for timing the rendering of different extents from an existing ArcMap Document (.mxd) using the ArcMap add-in tool. If using the standalone application, the steps are similar.

  1. If using the ArcMap add-in tool:
    1. Add the PerfQAnalyzer toolbar:
      To add the toolbar, go to the Customize menu > Toolbars and select PerfQAnalyzer.
  1. Click the Show/Hide Dockable Window control.
  1. In the PerfQAnalyzer window, click the Extents tab.
  • If an X,Y extent file does not already exist, choose Create an extents list file from the pull-down menu. Specify the location of the extents file by browsing to the file within the Extents List File subcategory.
  • If an X,Y extent file already exists, as shown below, choose Read an extents list file from the pull-down menu.
  1. Specify the location of the extents file by browsing to the file within the Extents List File subcategory.
  2. Indicate the number of extents to generate.
  3. Click Preview Random Extents (use the scroll bar if the button is not visible). The new extents are temporarily drawn on the map. If not satisfied with the extents generated, click Clear, and click Preview Random Extents again, and new extents appear.
To change the rendering of the extents (polygon fill, labels, etc.), expand the Display Settings. Make the necessary modifications and click Refresh.
  1. If it is desired that the extents be based upon mapped features, expand the Feature Classes option and click the Get Feature Classes button. This retrieves a list of feature classes. Check the appropriate feature classes. If necessary, click Clear Extents, and click Preview Random Extents.
  2. Once satisfied with the extents, click the Save button next to the Extents List File field to save the extents to a text file.
  1. The process of timing rendering inside the .mxd is ready to start. First, specify where the log file is to be saved. Click the Log tab along the top of the PerfQAnalyzer window.
  1. Click the folder button next to the Path field and specify the location for the log file.
  2. Click the Rendering tab; this is where the logging of draw extents are temporarily shown in ArcMap.
  3. Click the Render Extent button.

Article ID:000013215

  • ArcMap

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