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Building pyramids when prompted by ArcGIS

When you add a raster dataset that does not have pyramids into ArcGIS Pro, you will be prompted to build pyramids. Pyramids are reduced resolution overviews of the data at different scales. Pyramids are useful because they improve the drawing speed for raster datasets displayed at less than their full resolution. It is recommended that you always build pyramids for large raster datasets.

Options on the Build Pyramids Dialog


Click Yes to build pyramids for the raster dataset. This dialog box will not return again for this particular raster dataset since the pyramids will exist.


Click No if you do not want to build pyramids for the raster dataset. Selecting this option means your raster will not be displayed as quickly as it could, and this dialog box will be displayed again if the dataset is added to the application again.


Click Cancel so the raster dataset is not added to the display and the pyramids will not be built. Choose this option if you picked the wrong raster dataset to display, or want to build pyramids using a different method.

Always use this choice

Check this box if you do not want this dialog box to appear again and you want to always make the same choice.

You can choose a different option on the Options > Raster and Imagery > Raster Dataset tab.

Resampling method

Defines how the data will be resampled when building the pyramids.

  • Nearest Neighbor—Used for nominal data or raster datasets with color maps, such as land-use or pseudo color images.
  • Bilinear—Used with continuous data, such as satellite imagery or aerial photography.
  • Cubic—Used with continuous data, such as satellite imagery or aerial photography. It is similar to bilinear interpolation; however, it resamples the data using a larger matrix which results in a smoother appearance.

Compression method

Defines the method used when compressing the pyramids.

  • Default—This uses the compression that is normally used by the raster dataset format.
  • LZ77—A lossless compression. The values of the cells in the raster will not be changed.
  • JPEG—A lossy compression.
  • JPEG_YCbCr—A lossy compression using the luma (Y) and chroma (Cb and Cr) color space components.
  • None—No data compression.

Compression quality

Specifies the compression quality when either JPEG or JPEG_YCbCr compression is chosen. Valid values range from 1 to 100, where a higher number means better image quality but less compression.

When you choose to build the pyramids, they are created for the whole raster dataset, including all the bands, according to the defaults in the application. To change the default settings for building pyramids and displaying this dialog box, see Change the default setting for building pyramids. Optionally, you can use the Build Pyramids and modify the environment settings.

You can build pyramids for each raster dataset within the mosaic dataset, and you can build overviews for a mosaic dataset but only using specific tools in the Mosaic Dataset toolset.

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