Author: Oscar Cronquist Article last updated on July 15, 2021

Excel 2016 owners with an office 365 subscription can now easily build beautiful map charts. Excel uses maps from Bing and it works very well, all you need to do is provide data.

The map chart below shows US states by population and I will show how I made this.

1. Get data for map chart

I copied US population data from Wikipedia and rounded values to millions with one decimal.

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2. How to insert a map chart

  1. Select data (A1:B56)
  2. Go to tab "Insert" on the ribbon
  3. Press with left mouse button on the "Maps" icon

This world map shows up, US states are barely visible. This is not what we want.

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3. Map Chart settings

Double press with the left mouse button on the map to access chart formatting, see the image below.

Here we have three options we can modify, map projection, map area, and map labels.

Map projection

  • Automatic - Self-explanatory
  • Mercator - Cylindrical map projection
  • Miller - Modified Mercator projection
  • Robinson - Showing the globe as a flat image

Map area

  • Automatic
  • Only regions with data
  • World

Select "Only regions with data" and the chart changes to this:

Still not good, US state Alaska is so big it is hard to see the other states.

However, this setting shows different options if we add a third column to our data. Column A has value US in all 52 cells, see picture below.

Now change the data source to include column A, here is how:

  1. Press with the right mouse button on the chart.
  2. Select "Select Data...".
  3. Change the cell reference to A1:C56, see the image below.
  4. Press with the left mouse button on the OK button.

The map chart changes once again, see the image below.

Let's look at the formatting options. There are now five different map areas and the "Automatic" setting shows the above map chart.

  • Automatic
  • Only regions with data
  • Country/Region
  • Multiple countries/regions
  • World

Map labels setting lets you display state names: None, best fit only or show all. I have selected "Show all" and this is what the map chart looks like.

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4. How to show hidden map names?

If you resize the chart, even more state names are visible.

  1. Press with mouse on the map chart with the left mouse button to select it. Rounded chart handles appear in each corner of the chart and on midpoints.
  2. Press and hold with the left mouse button on one of these handles.
  3. Drag with mouse to resize the chart.
  4. Release the left mouse button when you found the right size.

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5. How to add Data Labels to a map chart?

You can also add the population number to a map.

Press with the right mouse button on the map and then press with left mouse button on "Add Data Labels", see the chart above.

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6. How to change the map colors?

If you don't like the state or country colors you can change that, as well.

  1. Double press with the left mouse button on the map and then
  2. Press with the left mouse button on a state or country, the format object task pane appears to the right-hand side of the excel window, see the picture above.
  3. Press with the left mouse button on "Series Options" and then "Series Color" to see map chart color settings.
  4. Press with the left mouse button on the "Fill color" buttons and pick the lowest value color and the highest value color.

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Get the Excel file


Excel-map-chart.xlsx

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