An 'Out of Memory' error is displayed when repeatedly exporting or printing from ArcMap

Last Published: April 25, 2020


** Internal Publish Only! This article may contain information that is not intended for external circulation. **When performing multiple export/print operations in a row, for example, when automating batch export processes such as DSMapbook or MPSAtlas, the error message 'out of memory' or 'cannot map metafile' occur after a certain number of exports.


Memory is sometimes not returned when ArcMap calls certain Win32, User32 and GDI functions from Windows. While every attempt is made to catch these cases, not all cases are fixable in the current display/output architecture of ArcGIS.

Solution or Workaround

Use the following steps to troubleshoot the problem:

  1. If the error occurs during batch printing or after several larger prints or exports have been done in the same ArcMap session, release some of the computers resources by closing and restarting ArcMap before performing the next print or export.
  2. Close ArcMap and restart Windows to release further Windows GDI and virtual memory resources.
  3. Clean out unnecessary temporary files in the user's TEMP directory.
  4. Ensure that the user has a large amount of virtual memory available. Set the minimum amount to 1.5 times the user's physical memory (RAM), and the maximum to 4092MB (4GB). On Windows XP systems, allowing Windows to manage the pagefile is often the best bet.
  5. Periodically defragment the pagefile with the PageDefrag utility. See the link in the Related information section below.

Article ID:000008793

  • ArcMap

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