I'm working to transition some of our data from CAD to GIS by bringing it in by adding the .dwg file to ArcMap itself and remapping using the DWG as a guide. I was wondering if there was a limit as to how many features ArcMap can handle? Is it determined by the software or hardware? I had initially tried bringing in about ~1400 features from AutoCAD, which caused crashes any time I tried to edit a feature. It seems like ~650 features worked okay.

Edit: I'm using Civil 3D 2016 and ArcMap 10.4. Pretty basic features from Civil 3D, just points and lines that contain X,Y,Z.

I just added the some 13k features from CAD through on my personal computer with the GIS data I was using and it seemed to run just fine. Mine is spec'd a bit better than my work machine so I would assume it's a hardware issue.

Short of getting a new machine or doing some hardware upgrades, are there any settings on the software side that might ease the load?

  • 1
    Which version of Autocad are you using? which version of Arcmap? and what type of features are you transferring across?
    – Banger
    Jul 26, 2016 at 23:06
  • You may have an "apples and oranges" situation here -- GIS generally reads data off disk, while CAD tends to be objects in memory. I regularly use GIS tables with scores of millions of features, which I organize with scale dependency, so that only tens of thousands draw at a time.
    – Vince
    Jul 27, 2016 at 0:09

2 Answers 2


I think the limits to be aware of are documented at File geodatabase size and name limits and the particular one you are asking about is:

Number of rows in a feature class or table: 2,147,483,647

I don't work with billions of features but frequently I have 2-3 million in my feature classes.

  • 1
    You'll hit functional limits long before 2^31 features. I recommend that users avoid exceeding 40-50 million point features without a really good reason (fewer for lines or polygons, depending on the vertex density).
    – Vince
    Jul 27, 2016 at 0:15

It has been a couple of years since I have had to do this so I'm a bit rusty. But basically Arcmap should be able to handle that many features, I found when importing addresses that Autocad stopped before Arcmap, I think it was about 4 million addresses, ie all of Queensland. Maybe try using the export tool to convert the data to a shape file in Autocad first and import it that way.


Not sure if this is still true but I used to find that ESRI was one generation behind dwg files so Arcmap 10 could read AutoCad 2010 files but not 2012 ones so you could try saving it as an older dwg file first and importing that into Arcmap.

Also DWG files are compressed and sometimes this seems to cause problems. and you need to make sure when you expect that the feature classes are clean that you don't have multi point points in your point files, incomplete polygons etc.

finally there is the Arcmap Advanced settings utility which can be found here C:\Program Files (x86)\ArcGIS\Desktop10.4\Utilities (normally depending on how you set up your system), you can adjust the setting for memory and how much data arcmap can handle, maybe see if there is a difference between your home computer and work ones settings.

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