Why does the MXD size increase over time when you save it?

Obviously you drop data in the map while doing work but then you delete it (temporary clipped shps, tiffs, excel/database).


3 Answers 3


There are Esri Technical Articles that explain this.

"Map documents (.mxd files) are compound files. The information describing the map, layout, and any embedded objects saved in the map is organized into units called storages and streams. When you save a compound file, the streams can become fragmented in a process that is analogous to hard disk fragmentation. This can make the map document larger, though it does not increase the likelihood of the document becoming corrupted. The more times you save a map, the more chance that fragmentation will make the document larger.

Using Save As and selecting a new file name creates a new document with no fragmentation. You can save a fragmented map document as a new document to reduce its file size."


Very large MXD file sizes in 10.1 over at GeoNet discusses the problem of the size of the mxd increasing over time. One of the issues is having Geoprocessing results saved as part of the mxd file. It's also recommended to use the MXD Doctor


Read Chris Fox entry 06-25-2012 11:16am at Very large MXD file sizes in 10.1

Has some directions for reducing the MXD size, like it was said, it is geoprocessing outputs that are making the MXD grow in size. Some continue to say that only solves part of the problem though


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