Add a map to Excel

A map provides a geographic view of data and allows you to explore and interact with that data. With ArcGIS Maps for Office, data that you've stored in an Excel spreadsheet can be displayed on a map. Additionally, you can combine your data with data from ArcGIS Online on a single map, allowing you to visually analyze the information and share it with others.

A map is a spatial document composed of one or more layers. A layer is the way in which ArcGIS Maps for Office 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 might be considered different layers. When you add data from Excel to a map, ArcGIS Maps for Office creates a layer and displays it as a layer card on the map. Once the layer is created, you can configure how it's styled, set its transparency, enable clustering, turn on labels, create a heat map, turn on pop-ups, and so on.

You can add up to five maps to an Excel workbook. Each map floats in its own window, allowing you to move the map to a second monitor or move it out of the way entirely.

When you open a map-enabled worksheet that contains multiple maps or point layers created from Excel data, points on the map may not render immediately because the data is being loaded directly from Excel. Performance depends on your system's capabilities and on the size of the dataset and maps. For layers styled using polygons or polylines, a progress indicator appears on the layer card.


Microsoft Word allows you to embed and work with an Excel spreadsheet in a document. This workflow is unsupported by ArcGIS Maps for Office and is not recommended.

Data import and format considerations

Number of features

When you're creating a map, you may get carried away and try to add a large amount of data to the map. It's important to keep in mind that plotting too many individual features on a map can lead to viewer confusion and frustration and doesn't provide a clear picture of your business data. In addition to creating a map that's difficult to interpret, adding a large number of rows to a map may negatively impact the performance of ArcGIS Maps for Office.

For this reason, ArcGIS Maps for Office restricts the number of features you can add to a map at one time. Data import limits per layer are as follows:

  • Areas (polygons)—15,000
  • Lines—15,000
  • Features (points)—50,000

A map layer can contain a maximum of 1024 data columns.

If your data contains a large number of features, you can add them to the map in subsets; for example, if you have 100,000 features, create two layers containing 50,000 points each. To mitigate performance issues when panning and zooming, ArcGIS Maps for Office automatically clusters points on a layer that has more than 500 features. You can turn off clustering using the Cluster Points button on the map ribbon.

Data formats

  • Use Excel tables—In most cases, especially if you plan to enrich your data, it's recommended that you format your data as an Excel table before you add it to the map. Using an Excel table allows ArcGIS Maps for Office to add columns containing new information to the dataset. For more information, see Tables and named ranges.
  • Use text values—Columns in your dataset that will be used for location (ZIP Codes, for example) should be formatted as textual values, not numerical values. If your data contains a number that includes a leading zero, as is common with ZIP Codes, Excel interprets these fields as numerical values and strips out the leading zero, changing the original value. Formatting such columns as text ensures that your data will remain accurate.
  • Use time formats— When your data contains time-only fields (as opposed to date and time fields), ArcGIS Maps for Office converts these values to strings to display them in pop-ups. Because of this, unlike true 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 to choose the time format to apply to all cells in that column before creating the layer.

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

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

    Excel time formatArcGIS Maps for Office time format





    *1:30:55 PM

    1:30:55 PM

    1:30:55 PM



    1:30 PM

    1:30 PM

Add a map from Excel data

When you begin the Add Data workflow, ArcGIS Maps for Office scans the currently active Excel table or cell range and attempts to find location-based information. Your data must contain at least one location-based attribute, such as address data or longitude and latitude values. ArcGIS Maps for Office analyzes the data in your spreadsheet and suggests the best ways to represent it on a map, offering a selection of styles from which to choose. You can quickly add a map to your spreadsheet by choosing one of the suggested maps styles.

You can add up to five maps to an Excel workbook. Each worksheet can contain only one anchored map.

To add a map to your Excel spreadsheet, do the following:

  1. In Microsoft Excel, open the workbook and click on a cell in the Excel table or range of cells that you want to use to create the map.
  2. Click the ArcGIS Maps tab on the Excel ribbon to display the ArcGIS Maps tools.

    ArcGIS Maps tools

  3. Click Sign In to sign in to your ArcGIS account.
  4. Click Add Map.

    The Add data from Excel pane appears, displaying formatting options specific to your data. ArcGIS Maps for Office uses the most likely dataset by default; use the drop-down menu to choose a different dataset.

    Add data from Excel
  5. Review the Data, Location Type, and Style by Column options to ensure that they are correct.

    • Data—Allows you to choose the data in your spreadsheet that will be used to create the map. Choose data from a table, a cell range, or a named range. For more information, see Tables and named ranges.

      If your workbook contains multiple spreadsheets, tables, or named ranges, click Advanced data format to specify the data to use to create the map layer.

    • Location Type—Determines how your data will be mapped and controls what's displayed in the style options. If you choose address, city, or coordinates, your locations will be mapped as points. If you choose state, province, or other area location type, your data will be mapped as polygons. You can also map your data to custom location types, such as park boundaries or sales territories, that aren't included in the default list. For more information, see Location types.

      Click Match location with location type to verify that ArcGIS Maps for Office found all the columns necessary to map your data. If you're having trouble getting your data on the map, it's likely that your location columns were not identified correctly. You can manually select the location columns and try again.

    • Map style by column—Allows you to choose the column used to compare the points, lines, or areas on your map. For example, to compare all the stores in a franchise based on sales revenue, choose the column that contains the sales information. The style options list will display different ways you can compare the records on the map. Typically, you compare records by varying the size or color of icons. To map your records without comparison, choose None from the drop-down menu.

  6. Scroll through the available map themes.

    The selected styling option is highlighted and a check mark appears next to it. Click another theme to choose it.

  7. Click Add data.

    A summary pane appears, listing the specified dataset, location type, styling column, and map theme.

    Add data summary

    If you're geocoding addresses, click the Show credits button Show credits to view the estimated number of ArcGIS credits you'll consume. Click Cancel or Close Close to return to the Add data from Excel pane to make changes.

Advanced data format

If your spreadsheet contains multiple tables or named ranges, or if ArcGIS Maps for Office cannot find location-based information, you must specify the data to use to create the map.

  1. On the Add data from Excel pane, click Advanced data format.

    The Data format pane appears.

    Choose the format of the data used to create a layer
  2. Click Table, Cell range, or Named range to specify the areas in your worksheet that contain the data you want to use to create the map layer.
  3. Click Close Close.

    You can add new layers to the map at any time; see Add layers from Excel for details.

Add a blank map

To add a blank map to your spreadsheet, follow these steps:

  1. On the ArcGIS Maps ribbon, click Add Map.

    The Add data from Excel pane appears.

    Add data from Excel
  2. Click the Close button Close in the upper right corner of the pane.

    ArcGIS Maps for Office creates a map with the default basemap and no layers.

    You can add layers to the map at any time; see Add layers from Excel for more information.