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Spice Up Your Data with Excel Map Charts!

Spice Up Your Data with Excel Map Charts!

May 6, 2020

Excel spreadsheets can be very helpful in organizing and summarizing information, but the numbers may be even easier to visualize if that data is converted to a chart. If there is geographic information included in your Excel spreadsheet (country, state, county, or zip code), as well as numeric data, you may decide to create a map chart. If you’ve watched TV broadcasts about COVID-19, you’ve probably seen this type of map, but you may not have realized how easy it is to create them!

For our example, we’ll use a spreadsheet of the Midwestern states that lists their size by square miles.


1.  First, we’ll select the column headings along with the states and their information. In this case, we’ll select A2:B14.


2.  From the Insert tab of the ribbon, click the Maps button in the Charts group.


3.  The Maps button has one more step: select Filled Maps.


4.  To change the focus of the map, add state names, or change the default color scheme, right-click on the map. Select Format Data Series, which opens the Format Data Series pane on the right.


5.  In the Format Data Series pane, change the map focus by selecting the Map area dropdown option that best fits your needs.


6.  Add the names of the states by selecting the Map labels dropdown. You may decide that Show all is the better choice.


7.  Change the color scheme to a 2-color or 3-color gradient by expanding the Series Color option and selecting the color combinations of your choice.


If you’d like to watch a short video on how to create Excel map charts, tune into the MCPL360 Facebook page on Wednesday, May 6, at 1:00 p.m. as our staff provides a tutorial!

To learn even more about Excel Charts, use these online resources, which you can access with your Library card:

Terri M.
Consumer Technology Specialist



Which version of Microsoft Excel is used here? I tried following the steps in Excel 2016, but that didn't work.

From Matthew W (not verified)
Sat, 05/16/2020 - 01:28pm

I used Office 365, but Excel 2016 is roughly equivalent in what it offers.
Here's a note from the Microsoft support page (… ): Map charts are only available in Excel 2016 if you have a Microsoft 365 subscription. If you are a Microsoft 365 subscriber, make sure you have the latest version of Office.
One other thought. While I've not needed to do this, you might select your cells with geographic data and define the cells as geography data types (Data tab > Data Types > Geography)

From Terri M. (not verified)
Mon, 05/18/2020 - 08:37am

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