Compact file geodatabases

Compacting a frequently edited geodatabase cleans up storage and unused space while also reducing it in size.

A file geodatabase is stored as a folder of files on disk. When you first add data to a file geodatabase, the records within each file are in order and are accessed efficiently by the file system. However, as you delete and add records over time, the records within each file lose their order, and unused space develops as records are removed and new ones are added elsewhere in the file. This causes the file system to perform more record-seeking operations within each file, slowing the rate at which records are accessed.

If you frequently add and delete data, you should compact your file geodatabase on a monthly basis. You should also compact a geodatabase after any large-scale change. Compacting cleans up storage by reordering records and eliminating unused space. After compacting, the data in each file can be accessed more efficiently. Compacting also reduces the size of each fileā€”it's possible to reduce the size of a geodatabase by one-half or more.

To compact a file geodatabase, do one of the following:

  • Right-click the file geodatabase in the Catalog pane, click Manage, check the box next to Compact, and click OK.
  • Run the Compact geoprocessing tool.