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ArcMap (and ArcGIS Pro) cannot read data in degrees-minutes-seconds (DMS), and therefore this data must be converted into decimal degrees (DD) before importing.
The steps below give instructions for formatting XY coordinates, using Microsoft Excel, and converting these data to a shapefile or geodatabase feature class in ArcMap.
ArcMap can read several table formats, including DBase III; DBase IV; .prn, .txt, .csv, .xls, and xlsx.
Post-2003, Excel no longer generates files in DBase format.
The graphic below shows the distribution of positive and negative values for longitude (X) and latitude (Y) coordinates worldwide.
Note: Format the ID field as Number, with no decimal places. Format Longitude and Latitude as Number, with at least 8 and up to 11 decimal places. Format Elevation as Number, with up to 2 decimal places. Format Description as text, with a length up to 255.
Warning: ArcMap applies the coordinate system of the Data Frame to the XY Data. This coordinate system is likely to be wrong for the data. Refer to the following Knowledge article: How To: Identify the spatial reference, projection, or coordinate system of data for assistance in identifying the type of coordinate system, and specific coordinate system for your coordinate values.
Note: If a warning message regarding the missing Object-ID field is displayed, it is safe to ignore it and click OK.As an example, GPS data is most often collected in units of decimal degrees or lat/long, which is a geographic coordinate system. Open this directory. Most frequently, GPS data is collected on the WGS 1984 datum, so open the World folder, and select WGS_1984.prj.
Note: If ArcMap warns of a "different geographic coordinate system than other data in the map", navigate to View > Data Frame Properties > Coordinate System tab. Click the Transformations button, and select the correct datum transformation to transform between the datums in the ArcMap Data Frame for the area where the data is located. For a list of geographic (datum) transformations, areas of use, and accuracy, see the following article: HowTo: Select the correct geographic (datum) transformation when projecting between datums. Under the Related Information section of the article, download the list of transformations for the version of ArcGIS Desktop installed on the computer.
Note: If the input coordinates are in Degrees-Minutes-Seconds (DMS), the Convert Coordinate Notation tool, located in ArcToolbox > Data Management Tools > Projections and Transformations, can be used to convert those values to Decimal Degrees (DD). Refer to the Tool Help for instructions to format the input data.