TIFF images created in ArcGIS cannot be read by other software

Last Published: April 25, 2020


Many programs cannot read TIFF files that are created by ArcGIS 9.2 or later versions. This affects software that is not updated to the latest TIFF library, including ArcGIS Workstation and other third-party software.


Since ArcGIS 9.2, Esri uses the newest TIFF specification, which includes the use of 'tiled' TIFFs. Other imaging software that uses the latest specification can read TIFFs created in ArcGIS 9.2 or later versions.

Solution or Workaround

To create a TIFF output that is not tiled, use the following steps:

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 steps are for ArcGIS 9.3.1 and previous versions.  At ArcGIS 10, tiled output can be toggled on and off via the Raster tab in the ArcGIS Options window.  See the link in the Related Information page for more information.
  1. Close all ArcGIS applications.
  2. Open the registry, and navigate to the following location:
  3. Right-click and select New > String Value.
  1. Change the name of the string value to tiff.create_tiled_images.
  2. Right-click the string value and click Modify.
  1. Enter false for the Value data.

The value displays in the registry editor.


New TIFF images created in ArcGIS 9.2 can now be used in ArcGIS Workstation and other software that cannot read tiled TIFFs.

To create tiled TIFF files again, delete the registry key that was created, or set the value to be 'true.'

Article ID:000008464

  • ArcMap

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