Make your Raster Files display faster in ArcMap


If you have an older computer with older display drivers then you may notice that every time ArcMap refreshes a raster view, there is a noticeable ‘flash’ as the display updates. This ‘flashing’ can become quite annoying and slow down your processing.

Probable Resolution:

ArcMap does have a hardware acceleration option for supported layers.  If you don’t currently have this option turned on, it could be worth a try to improve display performance.  The acceleration is only going to help ArcMap layers like the raster or basemaps. There are also options in ArcMap to accelerate this display process and cache the raster in memory for recall. These options are available in ArcMap 10.2 or later.


-Click Customize > ArcMap Options to open the ArcMap Options dialog box.

-Click the Data View tab and check Enable hardware acceleration for supported layers.

Data View Options

-Use the same tools for interactive panning and zooming. You should notice a smooth and responsive experience for your basemap layers and accelerated raster layers.


  • The option to enable hardware acceleration may be disabled if hardware acceleration isn’t available for your current ArcMap session. This can occur if one of the following is true:
    • Your graphics card has corrupt or out-of-date drivers or doesn’t support the functionality necessary to utilize hardware acceleration. It must meet the Shader Model 3.0 specification, and the driver software for it must meet the OpenGL 2.0 specification.
    • You are trying to enable hardware acceleration while accessing the machine via remote desktop.
    • You have previously accessed this machine via remote desktop while this session of ArcMap was open.
  • Over lower-bandwidth remote desktop connections, the continuous drawing of basemap or accelerated raster layers can result in poor interactivity. By default, continuous drawing is unavailable when ArcMap is accessed over


-Bring up your data set in ArcMap

-Go to the Windows -> Image Analysis menu to bring up the following dialog.  (Version 10.5 dialog shown):

Image Analysis Window

-Right click on each raster file to bring up the menu.

–Select “Accelerate”

–ArcMap will then pre-cache the Raster(s) you selected.

–Repeat step 3 to add more files if needed.


NOTE:  If the cache runs out of memory you will get the following message:

Cache Limit Warning

Display Cache size is shown on Customize -> Arc Map Options -> Display Cache Tab.  There does not appear to be a way to resize the cache although it can be cleared from this tab.

Display Cache Options


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