Managing your local display cache

The display cache is a local disk cache on your computer that stores data for basemap layers, tiled images from cached map services from ArcGIS Server, tiled images from other Internet map services, and the ArcGIS Globe cache. ArcGIS Desktop uses this display cache to help manage and improve display performance in ArcMap and ArcGlobe.

The trade-off is that you often have to plan for how to manage the contents in your local cache. Over time, the contents in your local cache can become out of date with the server contents. In addition, the local display cache can consume significant disk space on your local computer. You'll need to devise a strategy to manage how your local cache is managed.

You can manage the local display cache layer by layer or for all the contents in your display cache. The steps for each are described here.

Managing the entire display cache

You can use the ArcMap Options dialog box to view the current display cache size, clear the display cache for all map layers, and set the path for the local cache storage. Select ArcMap Options on the Customize pull-down menu and select the Display Cache tab.

Managing the display cache for the map document

When you click the Display Cache tab, you may notice that the cache size counter will be spinning up—summing up the total display cache size on your local disk.

You can use the menu items on this tab to set the storage path and clear the current contents in the Display Cache.

Managing the display cache for each layer

The display cache for individual layers can be managed for

You manage the display cache on the Cache tab on the Layer Properties dialog box for these layer types.

Right-click the layer name in the table of contents, select Properties, then click the Cache tab.

Cache tab for managing the layer's display cache

The three primary tasks you can perform on the Cache tab are described here.

Choose the caching option

Select the desired option to manage the cache for this layer.

  • Keep the cache between sessions—This is the default setting and offers the best performance. It's recommended for services that are not likely to change.
  • Clear the cache when the session ends—This is recommended for services that change periodically.
  • Don't cache any data locally—The map images are written to memory. This ensures presentation of the most up-to-date data available from the service, but it can be slower. This is often useful if you're short on local disk space or the data is very dynamic.

    In some cases, the ArcGIS Server administrator will choose to disable the use of local map caches for a specific map service. In situations where you access such a map service, the choice for Don't cache any data locally will be toggled on, and you will be unable to change this setting.

Clear the local cache

This will clear the local display cache for the selected layer, but no other layers in the cache.


Caches being used by basemap layers cannot be cleared while in use. To clear the cache, remove the basemap layers from the map.

If you normally only draw maps for a few areas, such as your agency's local study area, the cache won't become really large, because the tiles you draw will likely already be in your cache. If you draw maps for many different areas, your cache can grow. Whenever you draw a new area, new tiles will be stored in the local cache.

View information on the layer's cache size and storage location

The dialog box will display the display cache size of the current layer and the path of the cache location on disk. This helps you monitor its use.