Converting Excel files: The new Excel toolset in 10.2

Do you store valuable data in Microsoft Excel and/or Comma-Separated Values (CSV) files? The new Excel toolset included in the 10.2 release contains tools to convert Microsoft Excel files to and from tables for use in ArcMap. This is a functionality that has been highly anticipated by Esri Australia’s Desktop users and is now available to all licence levels. This follows the successful release of Esri Maps for Office and continued history of integration of tabular data into GIS. Previous versions of ArcMap have limitations such as a two or three step process to use Excel data, effectively duplicating files and conversions and joins to be saved and connections to an OLE database. The new toolset provides two simple tools to output ready to use tabular data in ArcMap and then allows you to save changes as an Excel file.

Now you can use the Excel To Table tool to work within your geodatabase exclusively to create tables for use in ArcMap to create new data and export this information with Table To Excel. This tool supports Excel Workbooks (.xlsx) and Microsoft Excel 5.0/95 Workbook (.xls) formats as an input. You can even select a particular sheet within the workbook to convert. When converting from Table to Excel the tool with this very name offers the option to use the input’s field aliases as column names. Alternatively you can use domain and subtype descriptions to convert into excel. Steps:

  1. Navigate to Excel to Table tool in the conversion toolbox (hint: add it to your Geoprocessing Tab as a favourite; Customize>Commands>Excel to Table>drag and drop into Geoprocessing)
  2. In the “Input Excel File” browse to the Microsoft Office Excel file to convert or simply drag and drop the file in from Catalog.
  3. In the “Output Table” browse to the desired geodatabase the output table will be stored in
  4. If necessary use the “Sheet” dropdown to select the name of the particular sheet within the Excel file to import. If unspecified, the first sheet in the workbook will be used by default
  5. On completion the Table will automatically be added the Table of Contents

A great simplified workflow reason to upgrade to 10.2.

Dagmar P

3 thoughts on “Converting Excel files: The new Excel toolset in 10.2

  1. Mark Wisniewski

    Just tried using this tool. The user still needs to make sure the excel file is formatted correctly to attribute table standards (ie correct characters etc), or you will still get errors during the processing..

    1. Dagmar P Post author

      Thank you for your comment.
      Each field should contain a uniform data type that is a supported data type such as float, text, date, and Boolean. However, Boolean fields are stored as short integer.
      I’d also like to add that the data must be vertically ordered and that the first row is taken as the field names for the output table.


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