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How to Create a Map From an Excel Spreadsheet

Updated February 21, 2017

Microsoft Excel is spreadsheet software that can help you sort, classify, and manage data. If your worksheet contains geographical data like state names. city names, or Postcodes, Versions of Excel before 2002 can also create maps for you, using the built-in Excel map maker. Excel will recognise your data as geographic input and suggest a list of maps for your data. Forget trying to create manual .jpeg or bitmap maps to display your data: Excel automatically fits your data to a map and creates a dynamic worksheet map that will update with your data.

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  1. Insert your data into an Excel worksheet. Include a column heading. For example, put a list of city names in column A (with the heading "City names" in cell A1), and put a list of Postcodes in column B (with the heading "ZIP codes" in cell B1).

  2. Click "File" and then click "Save."

  3. Click on the top left cell of your data. In the above example, that would be cell A1. Drag the cursor down over your data, to the bottom right corner.

  4. Click "Insert" and then click "Map."

  5. Click on the area of the worksheet where you want your map to be. Hold the left mouse button and drag the cursor from the top left to the bottom right until the map is the size you want.

  6. Let go of the cursor. Excel will display a pop-up menu.

  7. Select the type of map you want by clicking on it. Click on "OK." Excel will insert the Excel map into your worksheet.

  8. Tip

    If a pop-up menu called "Resolve unknown geographic data" shows on your screen, Excel isn't sure which geographic data you have entered. For example, it may recognise a city name as being in two states. Just choose the correct option from the list, and then click "Change."


    More recent versions of Excel (2002 and later) no longer have this option. Instead, you'll be required to purchase Microsoft MapPoint. An alternative is to restore to an earlier version of Excel.

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About the Author

Stephanie Ellen teaches mathematics and statistics at the university and college level. She coauthored a statistics textbook published by Houghton-Mifflin. She has been writing professionally since 2008. Ellen holds a Bachelor of Science in health science from State University New York, a master's degree in math education from Jacksonville University and a Master of Arts in creative writing from National University.

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