I load an xlsx file into ArcGIS Dektop 10.6.1, and realize I didn't have headers in my xlsx so I need to go back and add those. I close everything since ArcGIS locks xlsx files down and won't allow editing. I update the xlsx in Excel and save my changes. Restart ArcGIS, new project and load the updated xlsx. In excel, I can see my new edits. In ArcGIS, its still showing me the old version of my file.

My workaround is to save the xlsx file with a new name, but that does not really suit my workflow.

Can I force ArcGIS Desktop to recognize changes to the original xlsx file?

  • 3
    Sounds like very odd behaviour, especially as you have closed down ArcGIS. Are you accessing the excel file via some sort of managed environment (e.g. citrix)?
    – Hornbydd
    Feb 8, 2019 at 15:09
  • My first guess is that somewhere along the line, a temp file is being created from your Excel file, and that's what ArcGIS is using. So you aren't actually updating the same file ArcGIS is looking at. But if that were the case, your original XLSX file wouldn't be locked for editing while ArcGIS is open.
    – Dan C
    Feb 8, 2019 at 15:19
  • 1
    I've experienced the same behavior with xlsx files. I saved my data as a csv and it fixed the issue. Feb 8, 2019 at 15:34
  • 1
    Both things, ArcMap locking the xlsx and not recognizing changes in it when it gets added back into a project, are something I've sworn at for as long as I can remember. If you can't stand using a new name, you might prefer just closing the project and then re-opening it after the xlsx fix; which is my usual approach.
    – johns
    Feb 8, 2019 at 18:19
  • If there is a schema.ini file in the same folder as your XLSX you could try renaming or deleting it, before adding your XLSX again.
    – PolyGeo
    Feb 10, 2019 at 22:57

1 Answer 1


This happens in 10.5.1 as well. The Office 2007 driver suggested in GeoNet help from ESRI does not help much, as it is no longer available to download. The tables in shapefile are dBASE IV which is, again, not much help.

You can export to .csv, .dbf, or save backwards to .xls or Excel 97-2003 using Excel. I will try this with 10.6.1 and Office 2019 at home. At the office I have O365/2016 and 10.5.1.

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