How To: Insert an Excel chart into ArcMap


Instructions provided include steps for inserting an Excel chart into ArcMap, while maintaining a live link between them. Any changes made to the Excel chart are automatically updated in ArcMap.

The content in this article pertains to ArcGIS versions 8.x and 9.x only. Later versions of ArcGIS may contain different functionality, as well as different names and locations for menus, commands and geoprocessing tools.


  1. Open the Excel file that contains the chart needed.
  2. Click the Chart Area. Eight black resizing blocks called handles should appear around the Chart Area. Leave Excel open and the chart selected.
  3. Start ArcMap and switch to Layout View.
  4. Navigate to Insert > Object. In the Insert Object dialog box, select Create from file, and click Browse to go to the location of the Excel file; select it.
  5. Check the Link box and click OK.

    The Excel chart is added to the layout.
Make sure to save any changes made to the Excel chart. Not saving the changes disrupts the link to the map document.

To make future edits to the Excel chart that are reflected in the ArcMap Layout, double-click the chart object in ArcMap, make the edits and save. If edits are made in Excel, with ArcMap closed, the chart objects must still be double-clicked in ArcMap to open it and register the changes.

Also, when the chart is modified in Excel and it loses sizing or assigned placement assigned before the modification, resize the chart in ArcMap.

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