How To: Improve performance working in ArcMap and ArcCatalog.


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 adversely affected if the CAD file is accessed over a network.
  5. In ArcCatalog, go to Tools > Options > Geoprocessing tab > Results Management, and change the number of days geoprocessing history is saved to the Results tab in ArcToolbox.

    The 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 will not be repeated should be deleted.
  6. On computers with a Microsoft Windows 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. Find the tool at Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools.
  7. Run the Disk Defragmenter utility after running Disk Cleanup.

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