How to Use 3D Maps in Excel - dummies

By Joseph Schmuller

Added as Power View to Excel 2013, 3D Maps is the current incarnation in Excel 2016. As its name implies, 3D Maps adds three-dimensional visualization. Here, you learn how to use 3D Maps to create a globe with data on numerous countries.

The image below shows part of a spreadsheet with data on life expectancy at birth, expected years of schooling, and mean years of schooling for 188 countries.

life expectancy
Life expectancy, expected years of schooling, and mean years of schooling for 188 countries.

As shown, 3D Maps has been used to create a three-dimensional globe that shows these countries and their associated statistics. The globe comes courtesy of Microsoft’s Bing search engine, so an active Internet connection is necessary.

To create the globe, follow these steps:

  1. Enter the data into a worksheet.
  2. Select the data, including the column headers.
  3. Click Insert | 3D Maps | Open 3D Maps.
    After a few seconds (be patient!), this page opens.

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  4. Drag fields (column header names) to the Layer pane.
    Life Expectancy at Birth, Expected Years of Schooling, and Mean Years of Schooling was dragged into the Height box. You can see the data added to the globe, as stacked columns in the center of each country.

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  5. Reveal the globe.
    Close the pane on the left and the pane on the right, leaving the globe pane open.

A stationary 3D globe wouldn’t be very useful, as many of the countries would be hidden from view. The onscreen controls (and judicious clicking) enable you to rotate the globe and expand or contract it. You can also change colors of the columns and reorient them.

globe
The finished globe.

3D Maps is not just for international mapping — you can create maps on a much smaller scale.