Creating Simple Maps with Microsoft Excel

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Got MS Excel? Need a simple map? A little known tool in older versions of Microsoft’s Excel is the ability to create simple maps from tabular data. You can create simple chloropeth, chart and dot density maps using data organized by country, state or region.

The instructions below are for Microsoft Excel versions earlier than Office 2000.  For later versions of Excel, MapPoint was introduced by Microsoft to work with their Office software to create maps, see Create a Map with MapPoint and Excel for instructions.  If you don’t have MapPoint and are working with a more current version of Microsoft Excel, visit the Making Maps with Excel for information about free and demo addins that allow you to create a map within Excel from spreadsheet data.

Making Maps in Excel
Making Maps with Excel
Free Spreadsheet Geocoding

How to Make a Map in Excel

Create or load in an MS Excel compatible file. Compatible files (i.e. files that MS Excel can load in and properly place within columns and rows) include dbase (*.dbf), comma delineated (these are text files with the column values separated by commas and the row values separated by returns), as well as importable files from other spreadsheet programs.

Tip: For a complete list of files that Excel can open check the descriptions in the “file types:” drop down in the open file GUI.

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Once you have loaded in or created the data you want to map, you will need to select the columns containing the data you want to map. The easiest way is to simply select all the columns (you select the actual columns to work with later on). To select the rows click on the header cells and drag your mouse across the columns until all columns you want have been highlighted. Make sure you include the column containing the names of the countries, states or cities that you are interested in mapping.

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