Work with Microsoft Excel files in ArcGIS Pro

You can use and work with Microsoft Excel files in ArcGIS Pro in the same way as other tabular data sources. The only requirement to access and work with Excel files in ArcGIS Pro is that the appropriate drivers must be downloaded and installed correctly on the computer on which ArcGIS Pro is installed. For details, see Install the drivers to work with Microsoft Excel files.

Add Microsoft Excel files to a map

You add Microsoft Excel files to ArcGIS Pro in the same way as other tabular data sources: click the Add Data button Add Data. 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 images show the difference in how a multisheet document is displayed in Microsoft Excel and displayed 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.

    Worksheets at the bottom of the Excel window

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

    Excel worksheets 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:

  • Ensure that 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.
  • If you have cells with numeric data, dates, and so on, ensure that the content is consistently formatted—in other words, ensure that 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.

    The Add Data browse dialog box appears.

  2. Browse to the Excel workbook file and double-click the file.
  3. Click the table you want to add to the map.
  4. Click OK.
  5. Alternatively, you can 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

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 specify for the Input Excel File parameter.
    Refresh Excel geoprocessing tool
  • Select one or multiple files and 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 tool's input before running the tool.
    Refresh button is outlined

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 may be 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 at which ArcGIS Pro can no longer find references to the existing worksheets in the Excel file. If you receive an error message, remove the existing layer and add the Excel worksheet again.

    Learn more about Table view errors


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, so 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 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 attempts to maintain all characters present in the sheet or field name and displays this in the stand-alone table.

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

    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 #_().

  • Excel files with password protection are not supported.