Adding XY Data from Excel

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06-21-2013 07:18 AM
JenniferRamey
New Contributor II
I am new to ArcGIS and have been to the basic courses but I'm not understanding how to get my Excel spreadsheet into my Arcmap. I have created a spreadsheet that has longitude and latitude decimal format that I am wanting to be able to plot on my map.  I can get the data into the map but it does not appear to be plotting correctly.  My X axis is my long and my Y axis is my lat, I have the coordinate system set.  Please help.
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34 Replies
RyanMcDermott
New Contributor
MBoucher21, thanks for the response.  I changed the format that my data was in to the xls format.  I am still running into the same problem of when I add the X,Y data I don't get any information in the x or y field drop down menus.  Any ideas?
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michaelcollins1
Occasional Contributor III
you should probably convert the coordinates to decimal degrees first
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DarrenWiens2
MVP Honored Contributor
you should probably convert the coordinates to decimal degrees first

In fact, you must convert to decimal degrees (or another number-only format) first. The dropdown lists only populate for numeric fields. When you bring Excel spreasheets into ArcMap, it assumes the datatype for each field. Since your lat/longs are in D/M/S it sees non-numeric characters, so it must be text.

As a side note, you must remove special characters and spaces from spreadsheet column names before importing into ArcMap.
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MarkBoucher
Regular Contributor II
In Excel, you can define a named range for the data or define the headings on the columns. Not sure if you have to do this or not. It has has been a while since I've done this and I don't have time to test my suggestion out right now.
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MarkBoucher
Regular Contributor II
As a side note, you must remove special characters and spaces from spreadsheet column names before importing into ArcMap.
  This is correct. Spaces can't be in the names. Use the "_" character.
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jamiefenton
New Contributor
Not sure of your location, just browsing, do you have a "-" in front of your longitude (i.e. -96.5258)? This is necessary where I am.
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IQBALZULKAFLI
New Contributor
Hallo sir.I'm new here. I also had some problem with my excel data.my data in decimal degree.once it been add to ArcGis 10.1 and want to display the X and Y, only one coordinate shows.thus this thing comes from my excel data? what I need to do.thank you for all your helps
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ReneePardee
New Contributor II

I was having this problem too. My points were ending up in the middle of the ocean. Then I watched this video, and I finally understood the problem. Don't forget that choosing a projection verses geographic coordinate system is critical. Projected uses meters and the geographic uses decimals for lat and long.

ArcGIS 10 - ArcMap - Projection and Coordinate Systems - YouTube

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JoeBorgione
MVP Esteemed Contributor

Projected uses meters

Not exactly-  it depends on the units used in the projection.  UTM are typically meters:  StatePlane in the U.S are typically feet.

While this is an older post, something that people often forget is when adding XY Longitude Latitude pairs is they need to add a - (minus) to the the longitude value when the data is in the western hemisphere.  (Let's not forget the G [eography] in GIS...)

can't wait to retire....
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ReneePardee
New Contributor II

Well, sure it is slightly more complicated than I put it, but my data did have minus signs, and it was formatted properly, thus I was pulling out my hair. I was trying to use projected > UTM > WGS 1984 zone 13n, but the data would not cooperate. Using the geographic> World> WGS 1984, fixed my issue. It is a quick fix  that might help others.

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