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 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 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 may be considered different layers. When you add data from Excel to a map, ArcGIS for Office creates a layer and displays it as a layer in the layer list. 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 two 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.


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


When adding a map to Excel in ArcGIS for Office, keep in mind the following recommendations:

Data formats

  • Use Excel tables—In most cases, it's recommended that you format your data as an ExcelExcel table before you add it to the map. Using an Excel table allows ArcGIS for Office to add columns containing new information to the dataset. For more information, see Prepare data.
  • 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 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 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 for Office 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 Office reads the open Excel workbook 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 for Office analyzes the data in your workbook and suggests the best ways to represent it on a map, offering formatting options from which to choose.

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

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

  1. Click the ArcGIS tab on the Excel ribbon to display the ArcGIS tools.
  2. Click Add Map.

    ArcGIS 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 data from ArcGIS.

  6. Optionally, style the layers on the map. You can style the layer itself to represent your data in different ways—using a heat map, for example—and customize the appearance of symbols in the layer.
  7. Optionally, customize your map by configuring clustering, labels, and pop-ups.
  8. Optionally, if you are signed in, share the map or share a layer in it.

For more information on working with maps, including renaming, arranging, and resizing maps in your Excel workbook, see Manage maps.