Mapping in Microsoft Excel

With the ArcGIS for Office extension, you can easily create, design, and share maps where the calculations take place in these easy-to-follow steps.

Mapping in Microsoft Excel
Image Source: ArcGIS for Office

Can one create maps in Microsoft Excel? Yes, you definitely can map out your data within MS-Excel. The key component when it comes to mapping is having a location component which is all you need to get started.

This article takes you through each step along the way. I am going to be using the minimal data for demonstration purposes only. However, you can follow through with a different set of data and still achieve the same results.

Thanks to the extensiveness of the Microsoft products, the ArcGIS team has managed to create an add-on, ArcGIS for Office.

This is what they had to say from their official ArcGIS for Office page;

Make maps in Microsoft Excel and further the power of ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Enterprise. ArcGIS for Office puts Excel data in the context of location. Use location intelligence to transform your graphs and charts into interactive maps directly in Microsoft Excel to see data from another perspective. Then, use Microsoft PowerPoint to share your map.

Come to think of it. It is pretty impressive how one can just end up with map visualizations on the same space they perform their different mathematical and analytical operations.

Now to get started.

  • Download the ArcGIS for Office extension here.

As standard procedure, you will need to fill in a basic and simple form just to determine if you need this installation for Enterprise or just for ArcGIS Online.

Confirmation message which contains the download link
  • run the installation

On some machines, you might be required to restart your device to patch in the installation to your Office applications.

  • open up Microsoft Excel

If the installation was a success, you should be able to see the ArcGIS extension added to your Excel application like so.

ArcGIS for office extension within Microsoft Excel

In this example, our simple objective is to map out and represent the different amounts of sales that occurred in each of the SADC countries.

Sales generated in each country

Create a simple excel sheet like the one above. If you are using your data just make sure there is a location component within.

Click the Add Map icon from the ArcGIS for the Office extension bar.

If you do not have any coordinates within your data, then we are going to be using the ArcGIS World Geocoding Service. For that, you need to sign in.

  • once you have signed in, highlight the cells you want to map from your spreadsheet.
Preview of the cell mapping

The Dataset cell range field will automatically populate. Under location types select Address. But, if you have coordinates, then select Coordinates. Leave the rest as is and then select the Address column in this case it was labeled Country.  

  • finally click, Add to map.

The data will then be added to the map. Initially, it appears without any styling but as points on a map.

Styling icon

Click on the Styling icon indicated in red above, to style the map according to your visualization needs and requirements.

For this tutorial guide, I have kept minimum visualization to keep the process straightforward for you. But you can always experiment and try new things.

Simple map representing sales in different countries in the SADC region. 

For additions, you can always use the Styling option to see things like;

  • labeling
  • pop-up configuration
  • clustering
  • analysis
  • and sharing your map with other people.

This ArcGIS for Office extension helps organizations that usually work with large excel data and need to create maps to easily visualize the distribution and perform some analysis.

Say goodbye to saving as CSV and later on transferring the CSV into ArcGIS online to publish as a feature layer. All this can be done where the calculations take place.