How to Create MAP Charts in Excel

In Excel 2016, MS introduced a new chart type, the Map chart. This chart type visualizes data on the world map. This helps us create easy to understand dashboard that shows regional data. The end-user does not need to read each country, region, state's name to understand the data. They can understand the data by just looking at the graphical image of the map (with geographical knowledge).

 

In this article, we will learn how to create and use the map chart in excel.

Preparing Data for MAP chart in Excel

This is the first and most important step for creating an Excel MAP chart. The excel allows Region, country, states and city names in map charts. These names should not be ambiguous or incorrect as Excel uses Geonames for recognizing the area.

Let's say if you want to create an Excel chart, country-wise then each name of the country should be correct in spelling. The two charts below are trying to show the same data. The first chart uses the correct names but the second chart the data that has an incorrect country name "Caneda". The Geo Name failed to identify such a country.

So, arrange your data properly.

The yellow corner on the map chart shows the confidence warning. If your data is not consistent and Excel still shows a chart, it will come with a confidence warning. It will tell how much of the data shown on the map from the source. Try not to have this yellow corner on the Excel Map Chart.

Use Proper Heading for Map Chart Data

The map charts are sensitive to the headings and fields. So, define the headings properly. For example, write Country for the column containing country names, state for the column containing states, region for the column containing regions.

Don't leave any ambiguity in data

Make sure that your data does not contain ambiguous names. For example, the UK is a country and UK is also a state in India. It is best to have a supergroup column. If you are going to use state names, then define the country in the column before the state name.

Inserting the Map Chart in Excel

Example 1: Let's say you have the data of the site visit % by country.

To insert a map chart for the above data follow the below steps.

1. Select the data from the heading to the bottom.

2. Now go to the insert tab. Locate the map chart. And just click on it. And it is done.

Example 2: Map Chart by States

To create a map chart make sure you have their country name in the column before state names. It is not necessary but highly recommended.

Let's say we want to create a map chart of voting percentage by state in the USA. The data arrangement looks like something this.

Now just select the entire range, from heading to the last used row. Repeat the steps of example 1 and you will have the map chart ready. It will look like something this.

Interpreting the MAP Chart

The interpretation of the map chart is easy. The darker color area is of higher value and lighter areas contain the smallest values. It is represented using a gradient bar on the chart. However, you can change the colors of the gradient from the formatting of the Map Chart.

Formatting the MAP Chart

Adding data labels to the Map chart: Like any other chart, click on the map chart, a Plus sign will occur. Click on it and the 3 options will appear. In these options find "show data labels". Check it and all the labels will be shown on the chart.

Change Color Scheme of MAP Chart

There are two types of color schemes for the excel map chart. Sequential (2-color) and Diverging (3-color) scheme.

The Sequential (2-color) scheme

In the above examples, we are using the sequential or two-color scheme to depict the values. Usually, we use lighter colors for smaller values and darker colors for the higher value. But you can have any colors.

To change colors of the map, right-click on the map area and click on the format data series. By default, it is sequential. In the series color segment, you can set the color for minimum and maximum values.

The lowest value, the color is what defined. It changes casually to the color of maximum value as the value increases.

You can see in the above image the color for the lowest value is bright Red and for the greatest value, it is bright Green. The red color gets darker as the value increases, to the darker green for mid-value. The green color gets brighter as the value increases.

The Divergent (3-color) scheme

In the above example, the mid-value is the darkest color. It may get confusing to some. You may want a different color for the mid-value. For example, if the value is smallest, you may want it to be Red as above. As the value increases, you may want to make it yellow. This will indicate the value is approaching the middle value. And then make it green for the top-most value on the map. This can be done using the Divergent color scheme of the map chart.

Follow these steps to make a 3 color divergent map chart.

To change the color scheme of the map chart, right-click on the map area and click on the format data series.

By default, it is sequential. From the drop-down, select Divergent.

In the series color segment, you can set the color for minimum, midpoint, and maximum values.

In the above image, the lowest value is represented as a bright red color. As the value approaches midpoint, the color changes to the bright yellow. When the value approaches maximum value, the color slowly changes to bright green.

There are other formattings to make the chart look good. You can explore them easily from the formatting option.

Note: The MAP chart is only available to the Excel 365 subscribers. 

I explained the map chart in excel because there is not much on the internet about this chart type. I hope it was helpful.  If you have any doubts or special requirements, let me know in the comments section below.

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