Work with Microsoft Excel files in ArcGIS Pro

You can open Microsoft Excel tables directly in ArcGIS Pro and work with them in the same way as other tabular data sources. For example, you can add them to the map, open them in the fields view, and use them as inputs to geoprocessing tools.

Install the Microsoft Access Database Engine driver

If you attempt to access an Excel file in ArcGIS Pro without the appropriate driver installed, you will receive the error Required Microsoft driver is not installed.

To work with Excel files in ArcGIS Pro, you must download and install the Microsoft Access Database Engine 2016 Redistributable driver on your computer. This driver is accessible from the Microsoft Download Center.

Clicking Download on the page will present you with a choice of two downloads, 32 bit or 64 bit:

  • If you are using ArcGIS Pro 2.4, choose the 32-bit driver download.
  • If you are using ArcGIS Pro 2.5 or later, choose the download that matches your currently installed Microsoftapplications.

The download options are:

  • AccessDatabaseEngine.exe—32-bit driver
  • AccessDatabaseEngine_X64.exe—64-bit driver

If you try to install the downloaded AccessDatabaseEngine.exe file on a machine that already has a Microsoft 64-bit application, you will get an error message saying that you cannot install a 32-bit version of the database engine because you currently have 64-bit Microsoft Office products installed. A similar error message will display if you try to install the AccessDatabaseEngine_X64.exe file on a machine that already has a Microsoft 32-bit application.

To work around this problem, you will need to perform a silent installation of the downloaded file by doing the following:

  1. Save the downloaded file to your computer, on the C: drive.
  2. Using the Windows search box on the task bar, type Command Prompt to find and open the Command Prompt application.
  3. Right-click the Command Prompt application and select Run as administrator.
  4. The command prompt will open to a default directory. Type cd C:\ to change the directory to the C: drive where you've saved the downloaded file.
  5. To run the .exe as a silent installation, type AccessDatabaseEngine.exe /quiet or AccessDatabaseEngine_X64.exe /quiet, depending on the file you've selected to download from the Microsoft Download Center.
  6. It is recommended that you restart your computer after the installation.

    To check whether the driver is installed, in the Windows taskbar search box, type Settings. In the Apps & features pane, search for Microsoft Access Database Engine 2016. If it isn't there, or if you have any problems with the installation information listed above, see Guide to connecting to Excel files in ArcGIS Pro for additional detailed installation instructions.

Use Microsoft Excel files in ArcGIS Pro

You add Excel files to a project in the same way as other data: click the Add Data button Add Data on the Map tab. When you browse to an Excel file, you must choose the table you want to open. For example, if you have an Excel workbook named Sales_Figures.xlsx that contains three worksheets—Sales, Month, and Year to Date—each worksheet is a separate table in ArcGIS Pro.

When accessed from ArcGIS Pro, a worksheet is shown as a table with a dollar sign ($) at the end of its name. Worksheets with names containing spaces will have the spaces replaced by underscores.

Once the table is added to the map, you can open it in the Contents pane. However, you cannot edit the table or export records to an Excel format.

The following example contrasts how a multisheet document is exposed in Microsoft Excel and on the Add Data dialog box:

  • Three worksheets are shown as they appear on the Sheet tab bar at the bottom of the Excel window.

    Three worksheets as they appear on the Sheet tab bar at the bottom of the Excel window

  • Available worksheets are shown in the Sales_Figures workbook on the Add Data dialog box.

    Excel worksheets in the Sales_Figures workbook on the Add Data dialog box

Format a table in Microsoft Excel for use in ArcGIS Pro

You can work with Microsoft Excel files in ArcGIS Pro in the same way as other tabular data sources, but there are a few limitations. Follow these general best practices when creating Excel data to be used in ArcGIS Pro:

  1. Make sure the first row of the worksheet is properly formatted, since it will be used for the field names in ArcGIS.

    Follow these best practices for field naming, particularly if you want to join an Excel table to another table:

    • Field names must start with a letter.
    • Field names must contain only letters, numbers, and underscores.
    • Field names must not exceed 64 characters.

  2. If you have cells with numeric data, dates, and so on, ensure that the content is consistently formatted—in other words, make sure all numeric data is actually numeric. If there are other types of data in those rows, the field is converted to text when the table is opened in ArcGIS Pro.

Add a Microsoft Excel table to the map

You add Excel files to a project in the same way as other data: click the Add Data button on the Map tab, or use the Catalog pane.

  1. Click the Add Data button Add Data on the Map tab on the ribbon.
  2. Browse to the Excel workbook file when the Add Data browse dialog box appears.
  3. Double-click the Excel workbook file.
  4. Click the table you want to add to the map.
  5. Click Select.
  6. Alternatively, you can also drag an Excel table onto the map from the Catalog pane, or right-click the table and click Add To Current Map Add To Current Map.

Refresh a Microsoft Excel table in ArcGIS Pro

You can refresh the Microsoft Excel workbook files that you use in ArcGIS Pro to reflect updated data and schema edits made to any of the worksheets in the workbook.

Excel tables are read-only in ArcGIS Pro; however, Excel files can be edited outside of ArcGIS Pro while you have a worksheet open in the Catalog pane (stand-alone table layer).

When you refresh the workbook, ArcGIS Pro reloads the Excel workbook file from disk, displays the updated (saved) data and schema changes made outside of ArcGIS Pro, and refreshes any XY event layer created from the Excel file.

Use one of the following options to refresh an Excel workbook file in ArcGIS Pro:

  • Refresh Refresh—When an Excel workbook file is accessed from ArcGIS Pro through the Catalog Pane, Catalog View, or Script tool, right-click the Excel workbook file and click Refresh Refresh on the context menu.
  • Refresh Excel tool—Use the Refresh Excel geoprocessing tool to refresh the workbook that you add to the Input Excel File field.
    Refresh Excel geoprocessing tool
  • Select one or optionally, select multiple files first, then click Menu Menu at the top of the Catalog pane and click Refresh Refresh.
  • At the top of the Catalog view, your current location is shown in the location bar. Browse to the item connection or the specific item you want to refresh. Next to the location bar, click Refresh Refresh.
  • When using the Browse button Browse to populate a geoprocessing tool's input, next to the location bar, click Refresh Refresh to get the latest information for the file used to populate the tools input prior to running the geoprocessing tool.
    Use Refresh on the location bar to update the input file prior to running the geoprocessing tool.

Learn more about refreshing a location's content.


When refreshing Microsoft Excel files in ArcGIS Pro, keep the following in mind:

  • Depending on the size of the Excel file, using the Refresh button Refresh can slow performance while ArcGIS Pro reloads the file from disk and reloads the cache.

  • A table error message similar to the image below maybe returned if the schema of an Excel workbook file has been altered, such as renaming or deleting the worksheet, outside of ArcGIS Pro to a point where ArcGIS Pro can no longer find references to the existing worksheets within the Excel file. If an error message similar to this has been encountered, remove the existing layer and add the Excel worksheet again. Learn more about Table view errors.
    Error: Failed to open table, the table fields were not found


When working with Microsoft Excel files, keep the following in mind:

  • ArcGIS supports both Excel 2003 and earlier .xls files and Excel 2007 .xlsx files. One advantage of Excel 2007 is that it allows much larger worksheets (1,048,576 rows by 16,384 columns) than you can have in Excel 2003 (65,536 rows by 256 columns).
  • Field names are derived from the first row in each column of the worksheet. You can view the properties, set aliases for the field names, set field visibility, and set numeric formatting for the layer in the fields view.
  • Excel does not enforce field types for values during data entry the way standard databases do. Therefore, the field type specified in Excel is not used in determining the field type exposed in ArcGIS. Instead, the field type in ArcGIS is determined by the Microsoft driver. If the driver finds mixed data types in a single field, that field will be returned as a string field, and the values will be converted to strings.
    • If the Excel table will be exported, the desired size of text fields should be considered.
  • You can directly export to Excel using the Table To Excel tool. You can also export tabular data to dBASE format, which can be opened in Excel 97–2003 and saved as an .xls file. Microsoft discontinued support for .dbf files in Office 2007.
  • When an Excel worksheet is added to a map, ArcGIS Pro will attempt to maintain all characters present in the sheet or field name and display this in the stand-alone table.

    For example, a sheet called Year to Date in Excel will display in the Catalog or Contents pane as 'Year to Date$', placing the name in quotes since it contains spaces. When used in a geoprocessing tool, the underlying table is used directly, so you may notice a slight change in the name. Using the same example, if you drag the Excel sheet Year to Date into a geoprocessing tool, or select it from an input drop-down menu, it will be represented as T_Year_to_Date$_.

    If the table name does not contain an expected character, it may have been replaced by the Microsoft driver before ArcGIS Pro accessed it. This is known to occur for a small subset of characters in which .![] becomes #_(), respectively.

  • Excel files with password protection are not supported.