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Hardware acceleration

When a layer contains a large number of point features, showing each feature individually on the map is often not useful. In this scenario, point features often overlap, making it difficult to distinguish between features and, when working with large numbers of point data, can cause performance issues. One approach to resolving this issue is to cluster features. If you do not want to cluster features, and instead want to be able to display each feature individually, Esri Maps for Office provides the ability to take advantage of DirectX hardware acceleration in Excel. By using your graphics card's hardware instead of your computer's CPU, the smoothness and responsiveness of panning and zooming is improved significantly for large numbers of points in Excel layers. In Esri Maps for Office, hardware acceleration is a property that can be turned on or off as desired.

Enabling hardware acceleration

The Esri Maps for Office hardware acceleration option is off by default in Excel. To enable hardware acceleration, click the File menu in Excel, click the Esri Maps tab, and check the Enable hardware graphics acceleration (requires restart) check box. You must exit and restart Excel to enable hardware acceleration.

Esri Maps Configuration page

After enabling hardware acceleration, you will see performance benefits are particularly apparent with large numbers of graphics that are frequently updated. The overall smoothness and responsiveness of panning and zooming with these large numbers of graphics is substantially improved.

You will also notice a few differences in the way symbols display. For example, if you enable clustering, the clusterers will no longer have flares, and point symbols will no longer expand when you hover over them.

Remote desktop, virtual machines, and hardware acceleration

Since remote desktop and virtual machine sessions draw on the remotely accessed machine, hardware acceleration provides little to no performance benefit. Thus, the hardware acceleration setting will be unavailable when Esri Maps for Office is accessed over a remote desktop or virtual machine session.