Bring in values with dashes from an Excel table to ArcMap


Instructions provided describe how to bring in values with dashes from a Microsoft Excel table to ArcMap. Values in the Excel table that have the dash symbol '-' in them do not transfer over when adding the .dbf file to ArcMap or ArcCatalog.


The format of the cells must be changed in Excel, the table has to be defined and saved as a DBF4 in order to view the values with dashes in ArcMap or ArcCatalog.

  1. Open the table in Excel and highlight the field that has the values with dashes.
  2. Right-click the field and go to 'Format Cells'.
  3. Select the 'Number' tab and in the category list select 'Text' and click OK.
  4. Navigate, with the field still selected, to 'Insert' at the top and then navigate to 'Name' and then select 'Define'.
  5. Type in a name, at the top box that reads 'Names in Workbook' and click OK.
  6. Navigate to File > Save As, give the table a name, and save it in the DBF4 format - in the 'Save As Type' textbox - and click OK.
  7. Add the table to ArcMap or preview in ArcCatalog and the values that have dashes with them become visible.

Article ID:000008594

  • ArcMap 9 x

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