Today, let’s learn how to make an impressive map chart with Excel. Something like this:
Step 1: Set up your Data for the Map Chart
You need geographical fields (district / county/ state or country), few numeric values to create the map chart in Excel. Here is the layout of the data I’ve used.
I will explain the logic for “Calc. Column” in Step 3.
Step 2: Create “selection mechanism” with Data Validation
Select a blank cell to set up “drop-down” selection mechanism. This is where we will select one of the products to show on the map.
Go to Data ribbon & click on “Data Validation”. Change the rule type to “List” and point to the list of products. You can set up this list elsewhere in the spreadsheet or directly point to the table headers.
Step 3: Calculate the values for “selected” product
Here is the XLOOKUP formula I’ve used. This assumes the drop-down list selection is in cell G6.
=XLOOKUP($G$6, Table2[[#Headers],[Mint Chip Choco]:[After Nines]], Table2[@[Mint Chip Choco]:[After Nines]])
The above formula looks up the G6 (selection values) against table headers and returns the corresponding product sales values to the calculated column.
Step 4: Make the Map chart
Select the geographical fields & the calculated columns alone, then go to Insert Ribbon & click on the Filled Map chart option (see below).
Customize the map chart colors & title if you want.
Place chart next to the selection cell and you will have a dynamic map chart in Excel, like below:
Download the sample file
If you need a hand with this technique, check out the example workbook.
Video Tutorial – How to make map charts in Excel?
I made a video explaining this process with a few more examples & tips. Check out the video below or my YouTube channel.
Known issues & problems with Maps in Excel
Excel map charts are not perfect. Here are some known issues with it.
- Not all geographical data is supported: In many countries, you can’t show data by district or city or regions. For example, if you try to make the same chart with districts of an Indian state, the map will not work.
- No support for LAT / LONG or street addresses: You can’t create map charts with specific point information (like addresses or coordinates).
- Incorrect maps: When a geographical boundary is disputed (due to wars or whatever), the map chart doesn’t show correct outlines or altogether omits the regions.
- Unable to zoom: You can’t zoom in to a specific region with the map charts.
You can use Power BI or Tableau other data visualization tools to make the maps. They allow working with more granular data or can let you control the zoom for your maps.
Got a question?
Do you have a question or doubt about using map charts in Excel? Leave a comment so I can help.