Skip To Content

Add a map to Microsoft Excel

A map provides a geographic view of data and allows you to explore, contextualize, and interact with that data. With ArcGIS for Excel, data that you've stored in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet can be displayed on a map. You can also combine your data with data from ArcGIS Online on a map, adding more layers of context. Finally, you can share the map with others.

A map is a spatial document composed of one or more layers. A layer is the way in which ArcGIS for Excel visually represents geographic datasets. A layer is similar to a legend item on a paper map. On a road map, for example, roads, national parks, political boundaries, and rivers can be considered different layers. When you add data from Microsoft Excel to a map, ArcGIS for Excel turns that data into a layer. The data is listed as a layer in the layer list. Once the layer is created, you can configure how it is styled, set its transparency, enable clustering, turn on labels and pop-ups, and so on.


When you open a map-enabled worksheet that contains a map or point layers created from Microsoft Excel data, points on the map may not render immediately because the data is being loaded directly from Microsoft Excel. Performance depends on your system's capabilities and on the size of the dataset and the map.


Microsoft Word allows you to embed and work with a Microsoft Excel worksheet in a document. This workflow is not supported by ArcGIS for Excel and is not recommended.


When adding a map to Microsoft Excel in ArcGIS for Excel, consider the recommendations below.

Data formats

The following are best practices for formatting data:

  • Use text values—Columns in the dataset that are used for location (ZIP Codes, for example) must be formatted as textual values, not numerical values. If the data contains a number that includes a leading zero, Excel identifies these fields as numerical values and removes the leading zero, changing the original value. Formatting such columns as text ensures that the data remains accurate.
  • Use time formats—When the data contains time-only fields (as opposed to date and time fields), ArcGIS for Office converts the values to strings to display them in pop-ups. Because of this, unlike date and time values, time-only values cannot be used in time animations. To ensure that time values display properly, use the Format Cells option in Excel and apply the time format to all relevant cells before creating the layer.

    Time values in pop-ups and in layers or maps shared in ArcGIS will display using the format set by the map author before the layer is created.

    Some ArcGIS for Excel time formats may contain slight differences from standard Excel time formats. The following table shows some of the format differences:

    Excel time formatArcGIS for Excel time format





    *1:30:55 PM

    1:30:55 PM

    1:30:55 PM



    1:30 PM

    1:30 PM

Create a map

When you begin the Add Data workflow, ArcGIS for Excel reads the open Microsoft Excel workbook and attempts to find location-based information. The data must contain at least one location-based attribute, such as address data or longitude and latitude values. ArcGIS for Excel analyzes the data in the workbook and presents formatting options to represent it on a map.

To create a map in a Microsoft Excel workbook, do the following:

  1. Click the ArcGIS tab on the Microsoft Excel ribbon to display the ArcGIS for Excel tools.
  2. In the Map section, click Show Map.

    ArcGIS for Excel tools

    A map window appears displaying a default basemap.

  3. Sign in to ArcGIS using your ArcGIS credentials or click Continue to proceed as a standard user with basic functionality.
  4. From the map tools, select Layers Layers.

    The layer list appears on the map.

  5. To add layers to the map, click Add from Excel or Add from ArcGIS.

    Follow the instructions to add layers from Excel or add layers from ArcGIS.

  6. Optionally, style the layers on the map.

    You can style the layer to represent the data in various ways—using a heat map, for example—and customize the appearance of symbols in the layer.

  7. Optionally, customize the map by configuring clustering, labels, and pop-ups.
  8. If you are signed in, share the map or share a layer in it, provided that your organization has established these permissions.