How to Create a Map in Excel

By James Highland

Microsoft Excel is a versatile program that offers many popular spreadsheet functions. However, the software also contains features for the construction and manipulation of graphics. The program can create customized maps out of simple existing images. These maps can suit a wide range of applications. Thematic maps quantify different measurements in different locations by displaying varied colors. Interactive maps allow users to build detailed views of a standard map to isolate certain locations or events. Once a map is created in Excel, the possibilities are limited only by your creativity.

Things You'll Need

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Map image

Step 1

Download or scan a starter map image. Many free maps are available for download at Right-click any map and choose the "Save As" command to place the map on your computer.

Step 2

Launch Excel. Select the entire worksheet by clicking in the selection box located between the column A and row 1 labels in the upper left of the spreadsheet.

Step 3

Click the "Format" menu and choose the "Column" submenu. Select the "Width" command. A pop-up window will appear.

Step 4

Type the number "2.0" into the column width field and press the "OK" button.

Step 5

Select the "Format" menu again. Choose the "Sheet" submenu. Click on the "Background" command. A pop-up window will appear.

Step 6

Browse to the location of the saved map image you downloaded or scanned. Click on the name of the map image file and press the "Insert" button.

Step 7

Click on the "Tools" menu. Select the "Options" command. A pop-up window will appear.

Step 8

Click the "View" tab of the pop-up window.

Step 9

Uncheck the following boxes: "Row & column headers," "Vertical scroll bar," "Horizontal scroll bar" "and "Gridlines." This will ensure that the map image appears clean without interference from the spreadsheet grid.

Tips & Warnings

  • Excel may attempt to "tile" the map image by repeating it multiple times both horizontally and vertically. You may choose not to print these other areas by using the "File" menu's "Print Area" feature. Alternatively, hide the duplicate maps from the software view by selecting multiple columns and rows and using the "Paint" or "Fill" color command on the "Drawing" toolbar to color over them.