Map temporal data


This tool is available only for ArcGIS feature layers or layers created using Excel data.

Temporal data includes time and date information for geographic locations. If your data contains temporal values (date), you can add a time-aware layer to a map in Excel and run an animation that shows how patterns in the data change over time.


When your data contains time-only fields (as opposed to date/time fields), ArcGIS Maps for Office converts these values to text strings to display them in pop-ups. Because of this, unlike true date/time values, time-only values cannot be used in time animations.

When you enable time animation on a map layer, you use the Time animation pane to configure the field in your data that contains the time information. You can also configure the animation slider to specify playback speed, time interval, and whether to display cumulative data on the map.

Enable time animation

To view a time animation, the data used to create the map layer must contain date and time information. To enable time animation on a layer, do the following:

  1. Sign in to ArcGIS if you're not already signed in.
  2. Choose the layer that you want to modify: hover over the right side of the desired layer card to display its tools and click the Layer options button Layer options.
    Layer options pane
  3. Note:

    The layer drop-down list shows only the time-enabled layers in your map; these can be time-enabled layers added from ArcGIS or layers added from an Excel spreadsheet that contains time and date information. By default, the active layer is the one from which you opened the Time animation pane. If no time information is available, the Time animation feature is not enabled.

  4. In the layer options pane, move the Time animation toggle button Toggle on to the right.

    The toggle turns green to indicate that the feature is enabled. A collapsed time animation pane appears at the bottom of the map. Expand the pane to view the time animation.

    Expand the time animation pane at the bottom of the map to view the time animation
  5. To specify the data to use for the time animation, click the Configure button beside Time animation.
  6. From the Time field drop-down menu, choose the column in your data that contains the date and time information you want to animate.

    The drop-down menu only displays columns that contain temporal data.

  7. Click Back to layer options Back to layer options to return to the layer options pane or click Close Close to close the pane and display the map.
  8. On the layer card, a small clock icon appears beside the layer name to indicate that time animation is enabled.

    A clock icon shows that the layer is time-enabled

    The time slider appears on the map, using the default options. You can configure the time slider to change the animation speed and time interval; see Configure the time slider for more information.

    Time animation slider
  9. To turn off time animation on a layer, move the Time animation toggle button Toggle off to the left in the layer options pane.

Configure the time slider

The time slider allows you to animate temporal layers on the map to see how your data changes over time. You can configure the playback speed of time animations, define the time intervals shown, and specify whether to display cumulative data or only data in the current time interval. Time slider configuration options apply to all time-animated layers on a map.

To configure the time slider, do the following:

  1. Expand the time slider and click the Configure button Configure.

    The Time animation settings pane opens.

    Time animation settings

  2. Move the Playback Speed slider toward Slower or Faster to specify the speed of the animation.

    The default speed is two seconds per time interval.

  3. Enter a numerical value in the Time Interval text box and choose the units for the interval from the drop-down list.

    The units that appear in the drop-down list depend on the time lines in the layer data.

  4. Choose how to display the data:
    • Choose only display the data in the current time interval to show only the data that falls within the current time window. For example, if you have data representing hurricane paths over a 10-year period and you want to show the paths of all hurricanes that occurred within a given year, you would choose this option (and specify 1 year as your time interval). As the map animates, you see the hurricane paths for the first year, the second, the third, and so on. Each year of data displays independently of the other years.
    • Choose cumulatively display all the data to show all the data over time. For example, if you have data representing hurricane paths over a 10-year period and you want to display all the hurricane paths that occurred over the 10-year period in successive years over the previous years, you would choose this option (and specify 1 year as your time interval). As the map animates, you see the yearly hurricane paths cumulatively over 10 years.
  5. Click OK.

Use the time slider

The time slider appears as an animation control overlaid on the map. When you're not interactively working with the time slider, it appears semitransparent so that it doesn't interfere with the map display. When you play the animation or hover over the slider, it appears opaque to better display the available controls.

There are several controls you can use to manipulate a time animation.

Time slider controls
  1. Click the Down arrow to minimize the time slider window. When the window is minimized, click the Up arrow to maximize the time slider window.
  2. Click Play to begin the animation. When the animation is playing, this changes to a Pause button.
  3. Click anywhere on the interval section to move directly to that time period. You can also move the interval handles individually to display a specific time range.
  4. Show the total date and time range in the current layer.
  5. Click Previous to move the animation to the previous time interval.
  6. Click Next to move the animation to the next time interval.
  7. Click Configure to set the Time Settings configuration options for the map.
  8. Shows the currently displayed time range.


When you select features on a time-aware layer and run the time animation, only the features visible during a specific time period are visible during the animation.