Modify the temp metafile size setting to optimize draw time memory use


Instructions provided describe how to change the size of the output temporary metafile Enhanced Windows Metafile Format (EMF) that is generated. The default value and the value used when this registry entry is absent is hex 6400000 (decimal 104,857,600). To force ArcMap to create smaller temporary files, create a registry entry containing a value lower than decimal 104857600. Decimal 32000000 is a good alternative.

Smaller temporary metafile sizes can alleviate "Cannot map metafile into memory. Not enough memory" errors experienced during printing or exporting in ArcGIS.

The instructions below include making changes to essential parts of your operating system. It is recommended that you backup your operating system and files, including the registry, before proceeding. Consult with a qualified computer systems professional, if necessary.

Esri cannot guarantee results from incorrect modifications while following these instructions; therefore, use caution and proceed at your own risk.
The following procedure alters the printing and export behavior of ArcMap and other ArcGIS applications, and should only be performed by advanced users. Take caution when setting the values described here, since incorrect values for these settings can cause all printing and exporting from ArcMap to fail.


To force ArcGIS to create smaller temporary files, change the output temporary file size setting to a lower value.

  1. Close ArcMap.
  2. Navigate to Start > Run, type regedit, and click OK. Click Yes if asked to allow Registry Editor to run.
  3. Expand HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\ESRI\Desktop10.x\Display.
    The 'x' in the registry path name represents the version of the software installed. In older versions of ArcGIS, the path name is HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\ESRI\Display.
  4. Navigate to Edit > New > DWORD Value.

    An image of the Registry Editor instruction to DWORD Value.
  5. Enter OutputSizeLimit as the key name, and press Enter.
  6. Double-click OutputSizeLimit to enter a Data value.
  7. Click the Decimal radio button in Base, and enter the following value: 32000000.
  8. Click OK; the Data value is displayed as 0x01e84800 (32000000).

    Output Size Limit RegEdit Screen 32MB
  9. Close the Registry Editor.
  10. Restart ArcMap or any other ArcGIS application.

Article ID:000009571

  • ArcMap
  • ArcGIS Engine

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