I have a string field type of shapefile already in ArcMap. I need to import an excel file in and join with the shapefile. The only problem is the field type of the shapefile is a String and the field type for the excel file is a Double.

The excel field is all numbers, but the shapefile field is mostly numbers and a few letters mixed in, I think thats why it came out as a string.

I know you can't add a field or use the field calculator into a table exported from excel, I'm currently using it as a .csv.

  • you can make it fool arcmap by adding a dummy row at the top of the csv, and put a text value in that field. arcmap reads the first few rows to determine field type unless you use the schema.ini as described here... gis.stackexchange.com/questions/78087/…
    – Brad Nesom
    Commented Aug 5, 2014 at 18:02

2 Answers 2


In ArcGIS use the tool, Table to Table This tool allows you to format each field before you import - so that you can verify everything is correct (ex. text is text, and date as date).

I've found ArcGIS works funny with excel, and it's best to import excel into a dBase or dbf using the tool above.

I'm a little unclear about what you're trying to do, but I think you need to use the Table to Table tool to first import your excel file. Make sure you have unique IDS that are the same with your shapefile and in excel to perform your join on.

As for the field calculator, after your join export the file. Then use that new joined shapefile to add a new field to perform your calculation.


If you prefer to handle this in Excel you can use the TEXT formula. Create a new column in the spreadsheet and use a reference to the column that has the numbers that you want to format as text. Here is an example. =TEXT(A2, "0") After I do this, I will often copy and paste special (values) over the original column and re-save the spreadsheet.

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