Create your own mapping templates - Excel Add-In

Created 3 years ago, updated 3 years ago

With this add in it is possible to create map templates from GIS files in KML format, and create choropleths with them.

Providing you have access to KML format map boundary files, it is possible to create your own quick and easy choropleth maps in Excel. The KML format files can be converted from 'shape' files. Many shape files are available to download for free from the web, including from Ordnance Survey and the London Datastore. Standard mapping packages such as QGIS (free to download) and ArcGIS can convert the files to KML format.

A sample of a KML file (London wards) can be downloaded from this page, so that users can easily test the tool out.

Macros must be enabled for the tool to function.

When creating the map using the Excel tool, the 'unique ID' should normally be the area code, the 'Name' should be the area name and then if required and there is additional data in the KML file, further 'data' fields can be added. These columns will appear below and to the right of the map. If not, data can be added later on next to the codes and names.

In the add-in version of the tool the final control, 'Scale (% window)' should not normally be changed.  With the default value 0.5, the height of the map is set to be half the total size of the user's Excel window.

To run a choropleth, select the menu option 'Run Choropleth' to get this form.

To specify the colour ramp for the choropleth, the user needs to enter the number of boxes into which the range is to be divided, and the colours for the high and low ends of the range, which is done by selecting coloured option boxes as appropriate.  If wished, hit the 'Swap' button to change which colours are for the different ends of the range. Then hit the 'Choropleth' button.

The default options for the colours of the ends of the choropleth colour range are saved in the add in, but different values can be selected but setting up a column range of up to twelve cells, anywhere in Excel, filled with the option colours wanted.  Then use the 'Colour range' control to select this range, and hit apply, having selected high or low values as wished.  The button 'Copy' sets up a sheet 'ColourRamp' in the active workbook with the default colours, which can just be extended or deleted with just a few cells, so saving the user time.

The add-in was developed entirely within the Excel VBA IDE by Tim Lund. He is kindly distributing the tool for free on the Datastore but suggests that users who find the tool useful make a donation to the Shelter charity. It is not intended to keep the actively maintained, but if any users or developers would like to add more features, email the author. 


Calculation of Excel freeform shapes from latitudes and longitudes is done using calculations from the Ordnance Survey

Excel Add-in file. Full functionality. May not work in earlier versions of Excel.
KML-Choropleths  (524.85 kB)
Version of the tool without using the Excel Add-in
ward-map-kml  (6.35 MB)
Sample KML boundary file for users to test the tool