ArcGIS Help - 3. Importing Excel Files
Most of our data do not come in prepackaged shape files.
Often you are measuring data in the field, import it into Excel, where it is
probably manipulated, and, finally, we would like to put it on a map.
ArcGIS understands an archaic database format called dbase IV, which dates
back from the time of the pyramids. In a first step you will have to
save your excel file in dbase IV format before you can turn it into a shape
- Clean up your data, make sure that longitude west
has the proper sign, add column headers etc. It pays off to label
latitude and longitude properly with lat and long labels
- Format the column headers as text. To do
this select the first row, right-click on it, select Format cells...,
click on the Number tab, and select Text in the list of
formats. In some versions it may also be necessary to format the
data cells so the correct number of digits is displayed.
- Deselect everything and save the file in dbase
IV format (File > Save As)
- Right-click on the dbase file
- In the drop down menu select: Create Feature
- Select from XY-table, in the following menu
make sure that the software recognizes the latitude and longitude columns.
- Now you have to select the proper spatial
references for your data. Click on the Spatial reference of Input
- Click on Select a predefined coordinate
system. Select the appropriate coordinate system or projection.
Most likely you will need: Projected Coordinate Systems > State
Plane > NAD 1983 (feet) > Connecticut
- Click your way out of all menus by selecting OK.
- Now, you are back at ArcGIS and not much has
happened. ArcGIS does not show any new shape files because it is not
smart enough to update its window. Hit the F5 key and you'll see an
updated version, showing your newly created shapefile with the extension
- This file can now be dragged into the ArcMap
- Converting Excel files to dbase IV: has
numerous pitfalls and might not be as straightforward as it should be.
make sure all your cells are in the proper format. I don't think you
have to name your header cells any more, but dbase is very picky if you
tried to save the same excel file as a dbase file before. Check the
Excel help on saving files in dbase.
- My data shows up in ArcMap, but is way off the
map: This problem is most likely due to incorrectly set map units
(meters or feet). For help on setting map units click
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last modified 09-2003