If you're doing a project for work or school and want to add a visual aid, there is an option in Microsoft Excel that not a lot of people know about: the add a map function. Using data you input into an Excel chart, you can transform those boring rows and columns of names and numbers into a map illustration. Learning more about this little known Microsoft Excel function can help your project stand out.
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Create the information you want to appear on the map, such as statistics for a region. Enter the name of the place (such as city, state, or country) in column A and the number or statistic in column B.
Once you have your data for your map, click File and Save. Highlight and select all your data rows and columns by holding the left button down and dragging it until all your data is selected.
Go to the top of the screen and use your mouse to click Insert, followed by Map. Move your cursor (which will no longer flash now) and move it the part of the Excel page where you want your map to be.
Holding down the left mouse button, drag your cursor across the Excel page to show how large you want the map. You will need to start from the top left corner of your desired map area and drag it down to the bottom right.
Wait for Microsoft Excel to display a pop-up menu, listing the maps available. Read through the list, select the one you want, and click OK.
Excel will then find boundary names to match the data you entered (such as the region, city or state). If it cannot automatically find the information you are looking for, a pop-up menu labelled Resolve Unknown Geographic Data will appear with other name options; choose one and click Change or select Discard if you cannot find a match.
Microsoft Excel will then generate a map based on statistics and data you entered. Look it over to make sure all the statistics and names are correct; if not, go back to your saved data, fix it and re-save.
Tips and warnings
- Versions of Excel after 2002 no longer have the map making function and require you to buy Microsoft MapPoint to make maps in Excel; however, you can reinstall an older version of Excel if you still have the installation CD.
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