I'm using ArcMap 10.6. I have a "Master" MXD that has about 30 layers. My project is to make ~30 exhibit maps at a county scale for a legal issue. After I create the ~exhibit maps, the law team will review and ask for revisions to each exhibit.

My workflow is to use the master to create "Exhibit 1", export a PDF and save the MXD with the same name. Rinse and repeat for the 30 maps. This will allow quick revisions. My problem is that I've noticed ArcMap has gotten substantially slower after creating about 10 of these MXDs.

Does saving multiple copies of MXDs negatively affect ArcMap performance?

Is there a solution to streamline the program?

  • 4
    Another option to consider is using Data Driven Pages within one mxd to export your 30 maps. Mind you, this option only works if you are using the same data layers in the 30 maps.
    – Baltok
    Apr 27, 2021 at 14:09
  • 1
    It's not the saving so much as the geoprocessing logs and other overhead that get saved, too.
    – Vince
    Apr 27, 2021 at 14:12
  • Data Driven Pages wouldn't work because each exhibit has a different story it is trying to tell. I found that the major culprit to ArcMap slowing down was that two of my layers were from a hosted feature service in our ArcGIS online account. I exported those layers into a file geodatabase, removed the online layers, and ArcMap has been running much smoother. Apr 27, 2021 at 18:25
  • Clear the geoprocessing log and maybe use the Document Defragmenter tool to get a smaller MXD before making copies.
    – danak
    May 3, 2021 at 18:29

1 Answer 1


As you only have 20 more maps to go I would just shutdown ArcMap and restart. An ArcMap session holds onto all sorts of things you are probably unaware of and doing repetitive things just stacks up and slow things down.

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