Troubleshooting UI issues in OpticStudio

If you are experiencing a slow user interface (UI), this article helps you check your system has the latest graphics drivers and Opticstudio settings that can help. 

Authored By Alissa Wilczynski & Alison Yates


If you are experiencing a slow user interface (UI), there are a number of settings that can be changed that may help you see increased speed inside OpticStudio. This article will walk you through how to:

  • Check for graphics driver updates from your computer's manufacturer
  • Enable the Express View option for the editors
  • change the Project Preferences
  • check the Non-Sequential settings in the System Explorer (for use in Non-Sequential Mode).

However, these should not replace best practices in design, like keeping the number of layout rays for visualization low, removing duplicate analyses, and removing unnecessary surfaces/objects.

System Requirements

First, check that your system meets the minimum system requirements and that your graphics driver is up to date. Windows often will not find the latest graphics drivers through the Device Manager, even though the manufacturer may have released many updates. If you have a laptop with a built in graphics card, visit the support site for the manufacturer of the laptop. If you have an add-in card get the drivers directly from NVIDIA or AMD, depending on the manufacturer of your graphics card.

Editor Express View

An Express View option has been added to Opticstudio 18.7 and above. If your license is eligible, you can upgrade your release to take advantage. It greatly improves the speed and responsiveness in exchange for dynamic functionality. When using the Express View, scrolling editors with many rows is significantly faster compared to the normal view, so you won’t experience any lag for buffering row data.

This view is available for all main editors, including the Lens Data Editor and the Non-Sequential Component Editor. While Normal View enables all the editor features, Express View enables only the essential features to maximize speed. The Express View is therefore recommended for navigating files with large numbers of surfaces, objects, or operands, as these systems will demonstrate the most noticeable increase in speed.

You can easily switch between the two views, either by clicking the Toggle Express View button in the editor toolbar or typing the shortcut key <Ctrl + `>.

A global default preference for the editors can also be set in Setup...Project Preferences...Editors. Set the Default Editor View to Express View. 

Project Preferences

If your graphics driver is up to date, but you're still experiencing a slow UI, you may need to change some settings in the Project Preferences. To do this, open the Project Preferences in the Setup Tab; then select Editors.  

Auto Update

The first setting to adjust is Auto Update. By default, this is set to "Update: All Windows," meaning that any time you make a change to your system, all windows, analyses, and layouts will recalculate and redraw. If you have a complex file or many analyses or windows open, this can put a lot of demands on computer resources. Above more than roughly 8 windows, all additional windows will update on the UI thread which reduces the performance.

Try changing this setting:

  • “Update: Layout Windows” will update only the current analysis or layout in which you are working.
  • “Update: Editors Only” will update only the editor.
  • "Update: None" will require you to manually update by clicking the refresh button on the analysis or layout. Pupil position, solves and other lens data editor are not updated automatically.


Additionally, try changing your Undo settings from "Disk Multi Step" to "None" or "Memory 1 Step." Disk Multi Step makes a copy of your system and stores it in memory every time you make a change. If you are working on a complicated system, this can take a lot of resources. Memory 1 Step instead stores the last version of your file, so you can always go back one step.


Folders: Local

If either of the above options do not improve your UI speed, check the Folders settings, located under Setup...Project Preferences...Folders. Ensure that your folders are pointing to your local machine under Folders in Project Preferences. Folders that are on a network drive or synced on the cloud can dramatically slow down the UI.

project preferences

Untick Auto Apply

Another setting that can drastically affect UI speed is Auto Apply, located under Project Preferences...General. If this setting checked, each time you make a change to one of your analysis settings, the analysis will recalculate. If you have a complex file or many analyses or windows open, it can take a long time to update them every time you change a setting. Try unchecking Auto Apply.

project preferences 2

Non-sequential settings

When working in Non-Sequential Mode, the settings located at System Explorer...Non-Sequential can drastically affect the UI speed and the speed, as well as the speed of ray traces. These settings control the number of rays in memory, and increasing them can drastically increase the number of rays stored when running ray traces. Generally, these settings do not need to be changed from the default values. You can read more about these settings and some important considerations for them in the Help Files under "The Setup Tab...System Group...System Explorer...Non-sequential." 

Getting Additional Help

If none of these settings improves the issues with the speed you are experiencing, please navigate to Help...System Diagnostic. Run this tool. Click Save Output. It will save a file called ZemaxGraphicsInfo.txt. Send the file, along with a screenshot of the System Diagnostic output seen below, via email to

system diagnostics



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