Excel Tutorial: How To Make Maps In Excel


In today's data-driven world, the ability to visualize data is more important than ever. One effective way to achieve this is by creating maps, which can help us spot patterns, trends, and insights. In this Excel tutorial, we will learn how to make maps in Excel, a powerful tool that allows us to present data in a geographical context.

Key Takeaways

  • Data visualization through maps is crucial in today's data-driven world for spotting patterns and trends.
  • Excel's "Map Charts" feature allows for the creation of various types of maps and is a powerful tool for presenting data geographically.
  • Understanding and inputting geographic data into Excel, along with proper organization and cleaning, is essential for creating accurate maps.
  • Customizing the appearance and style of a map in Excel, as well as adding additional data layers, enhances the visual representation of data.
  • Exploring advanced mapping techniques and add-ins in Excel, such as Power Map, can further enhance data visualization and presentation capabilities.

Understanding Excel mapping tools

Excel offers a powerful feature known as "Map Charts" that allows users to create visually appealing and informative maps directly within the spreadsheet program. Let's take a closer look at how to utilize this tool to enhance your data visualization.

A. Introduction to the "Map Charts" feature in Excel

Map Charts is a relatively new feature in Excel that enables users to represent data geographically. This feature is available in the newer versions of Excel and can be a game-changer for those looking to present their data in a more visually engaging manner.

B. Exploring the different types of maps that can be created

With Map Charts, users can create a variety of map types, including filled maps, shaded maps, and symbol maps. Each map type serves a different purpose and can be utilized based on the specific data being represented.

C. Understanding the data requirements for creating maps in Excel

Before diving into creating maps in Excel, it's crucial to understand the data requirements. Maps in Excel typically require location-based data, such as country, state, city, or latitude and longitude coordinates. Additionally, the data being represented should be numerical in nature, allowing for meaningful visualizations on the map.

Utilizing Geographic Data in Excel

When it comes to creating maps in Excel, geographic data is key. Here are some essential tips for working with geographic data in Excel to create informative and visually engaging maps.

A. How to Format and Input Geographic Data into Excel
  • Understanding Data Format:

    Before inputting geographic data into Excel, it is important to understand the format in which the data should be presented. This typically includes using latitude and longitude coordinates, postal codes, or city names.
  • Formatting Cells:

    Once the data is ready, format the cells in Excel to ensure that geographic data is accurately represented. This may involve utilizing specific number formats or custom formatting options.
  • Importing External Data:

    Excel also allows users to directly import geographic data from external sources such as CSV files, databases, or online data repositories.

B. Tips for Finding and Using Geographic Data Sources
  • Online Data Repositories:

    There are various online platforms and repositories that offer geographic data for free or for purchase. These can be valuable sources for obtaining accurate and up-to-date geographic data.
  • Government Agencies:

    Many government agencies provide public access to geographic data sets, including maps, boundaries, and demographic information. These can be reliable sources for authoritative geographic data.
  • Commercial Data Providers:

    For more specialized or comprehensive geographic data, commercial data providers offer a range of services and products tailored to specific needs.

C. Best Practices for Organizing and Cleaning Geographic Data
  • Data Validation:

    Before using geographic data in Excel, it is important to validate and clean the data to ensure accuracy and consistency. This may involve removing duplicates, correcting errors, and standardizing formats.
  • Organizing Data Tables:

    Organize geographic data into structured tables or databases within Excel. This makes it easier to manipulate and analyze the data, as well as create maps based on specific criteria.
  • Utilizing Geographic Information Systems (GIS):

    Consider integrating Excel with GIS software for advanced mapping and analysis of geographic data. This can provide additional tools and capabilities for working with geographic data.

Creating a map in Excel

Excel is a versatile tool that can be used for more than just spreadsheets. With the right know-how, you can create maps in Excel to visualize data and gain valuable insights. In this tutorial, we will walk you through the process of creating a basic map in Excel, customizing its appearance and style, and adding additional data layers to make the map even more informative.

Step-by-step guide to creating a basic map in Excel

  • Open Excel: Launch Excel on your computer and open a new workbook to get started.
  • Select data: Enter the location data you want to visualize on the map into a new worksheet. This could be a list of cities, countries, or any other location information.
  • Insert a map: Go to the "Insert" tab and click on the "Maps" option. Choose the type of map you want to create, such as a 3D Map or a ArcGIS Map, and follow the prompts to insert the map into your worksheet.
  • Customize the map: Once the map is inserted, you can customize its appearance by changing the color scheme, adding data labels, and adjusting the map settings to suit your preferences.

Customizing the appearance and style of the map

  • Change map color: Click on the map to select it, then go to the "Format" tab to change the color of the map to match your desired style or theme.
  • Add data labels: To make the map more informative, you can add data labels to display relevant information about the locations on the map.
  • Adjust map settings: Explore the various settings and options available for the map to customize its appearance and style according to your needs.

Adding additional data layers to the map

  • Insert a new data series: If you have additional data that you want to visualize alongside the existing map, you can insert a new data series and add it to the map.
  • Customize data series: Once the additional data series is added, you can customize its appearance and style to differentiate it from the existing map data.
  • Visualize multiple data layers: With Excel's mapping capabilities, you can visualize multiple data layers on the same map to gain deeper insights and make the map more informative.

Analyzing and interpreting map data

Mapping data in Excel can be a powerful tool for data analysis and visualization. By utilizing Excel's mapping tools, you can gain valuable insights from spatial data and make informed decisions based on your analysis.

Using Excel's mapping tools for data analysis

  • Inserting map charts: Excel's map charts feature allows you to easily visualize geographical data by creating maps based on your data set. You can select different geographical regions such as countries, states, or postal codes to plot your data on the map.
  • Formatting and customizing maps: Excel provides options to customize the appearance of your map charts, such as color-coding data points, adding data labels, and adjusting map projections to better represent your data visually.
  • Analyzing spatial trends: Once your map chart is created, you can use it to analyze spatial trends, identify patterns, and compare data across different geographical areas. This can help in making data-driven decisions for various business or research purposes.

Tips for interpreting and drawing insights from map data

  • Pay attention to scale: When interpreting map data, it's important to consider the scale of the map and the geographical area it represents. Be mindful of how the scale may impact the interpretation of your data.
  • Look for spatial patterns: Use the map to identify spatial patterns or clusters in the data. This can help in understanding the geographical distribution of certain variables and uncovering potential relationships or correlations.
  • Utilize other data visualization tools: While Excel's map charts are useful, consider using other data visualization tools or combining map data with other chart types for a more comprehensive analysis.

Understanding the limitations of Excel for advanced spatial analysis

  • Lack of advanced spatial analysis features: Excel's mapping tools are suitable for basic spatial analysis and visualization. However, for more complex spatial analysis tasks such as spatial statistics, network analysis, or geospatial modeling, dedicated GIS software may be required.
  • Consider data accuracy and precision: It's important to be mindful of the accuracy and precision of the geographical data used in Excel. Depending on the source and nature of the data, there may be limitations in terms of its accuracy for spatial analysis.
  • Explore specialized tools: For advanced spatial analysis needs, consider exploring specialized GIS software that offers a wider range of spatial analysis capabilities and more robust mapping features.

Advanced Excel mapping techniques

Excel is a powerful tool for creating maps, and with the right techniques and add-ins, you can take your mapping capabilities to the next level. In this post, we'll explore some advanced mapping techniques for Excel that will help you create visually stunning and informative maps for your presentations and reports.

A. Exploring add-ins and extensions for advanced mapping capabilities
  • 1. Power Map:

    This add-in for Excel enables you to create 3D visualizations of your data on a map. It allows you to plot geographic and temporal data, creating dynamic and interactive maps that can be customized to suit your needs.
  • 2. MapPoint:

    Another add-in that provides advanced mapping capabilities, allowing you to plot and analyze geographic data, calculate routes, and perform spatial analysis within Excel.
  • 3. Other third-party extensions:

    There are numerous third-party extensions and add-ins available for Excel that offer advanced mapping features, such as heat mapping, geo-coding, and spatial analysis. Exploring these extensions can help you unlock new mapping capabilities in Excel.

B. Using Power Map and other advanced mapping features in Excel
  • 1. Utilizing Power Map:

    Once you have installed the Power Map add-in, you can begin creating compelling maps by importing your data and specifying the geographic and temporal attributes. Power Map allows you to visualize data in new and innovative ways, such as animating data over time or showing data by category on a map.
  • 2. Customizing map features:

    Excel provides advanced mapping features such as data visualization, charting, and labeling. You can customize the appearance of your maps by adjusting color schemes, adding annotations, and incorporating data labels to enhance the visual representation of your data.

C. Tips for incorporating maps into presentations and reports
  • 1. Selecting the right map type:

    Consider the purpose of your presentation or report and choose the most suitable map type to effectively convey your message. Whether it's choropleth maps, bubble maps, or flow maps, selecting the right map type is crucial for communicating your data effectively.
  • 2. Interactive features:

    Incorporate interactive elements into your maps, such as zooming, panning, and tooltips, to engage your audience and allow them to explore the data in more detail.
  • 3. Integrating maps with other visuals:

    In conjunction with charts, graphs, and infographics, maps can provide a comprehensive view of your data. Consider integrating maps with other visual elements to create a cohesive and impactful presentation or report.


A. In summary, using Excel for map creation offers numerous benefits, including its user-friendly interface, powerful data organization capabilities, and seamless integration with other spreadsheet functions.

B. I encourage you to continue exploring and practicing the mapping tools in Excel to familiarize yourself with its full potential and improve your data visualization skills.

C. As you delve deeper into the world of Excel for data analysis and visualization, remember that its capabilities extend far beyond just creating maps. With its array of features and functions, Excel has the potential to revolutionize the way you analyze and present your data.

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