Improve performance working in ArcMap and ArcCatalog

Last Published: July 20, 2023


Instructions provided show how to improve performance in ArcMap and ArcCatalog, and contain answers to common questions and problems.


These recommendations can improve performance in ArcGIS Desktop.

  1. Remove unused network connections from ArcMap, through the Add Data dialog box, before saving the current MXD.
    • ArcMap can be slow to open if many network connections to data sources have been created, because each connection must be verified.
  2. Create network connections at the lowest level in the directory structure that permits access to the data needed. Copy data for the map document to the local hard drive.
    • ArcMap performance slows if network connections are high in the directory structure, and many folders containing data exist beneath them.
  3. ArcMap versions 9.3.1 and prior
    Do not add the group layer to the map when working with Computer Aided Design (CAD - DWG, DXF or DGN) files in ArcMap. Instead, double-click the CAD file icon in the Add Data dialog box and add the features (annotation, point, polyline, polygon, or multipatch) necessary to create the map.
  4. ArcMap versions 9.3.1 and prior
    Do not add the icon representing the CAD Drawing Layer to the ArcMap document, unless it is used in the map as background. The icon is only an image of the data as it appears in the native application and contains no data.
    • Performance is also adversely affected if the CAD file is accessed over a network.
  5. In ArcCatalog 10.x, go to Geoprocessing > Geoprocessing Options. Under Results Management, reduce the timeframe that geoprocessing history is saved to the Results tab in ArcToolbox.
    • Geoprocessing history is useful if the same processes are executed often, but having saved history from many geoprocessing operations can negatively impact performance in ArcCatalog and ArcMap. The geoprocessing history should be reviewed, and processes that are not repeated should be deleted.
  6. On computers with the Microsoft Windows 10 operating system, run the Disk Cleanup utility frequently. It is recommended that the utility be run once a week; scratch files created with various processes can clog directories. Go to Control Panel > System and Security > Administrative Tools > Disk Cleanup.
  7. Run the Disk Defragmenter utility after running Disk Cleanup. Go to Control Panel > System and Security > Administrative Tools > Defragment and Optimize Drives.

Article ID:000010674

  • ArcMap 9 x
  • ArcMap 10 x

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