I have a list of Excel lat long coordinates in a spreadsheet that I want to import as points in ArcMap by displaying the XY Data.

lat      lon
5235746   486124
5236799   487447
5238042   489453
523686    486487
5236528   49301

However, ArcMap does not seem to recognise/display my coordinate data as points. I think because there are some 6-numbered coordinates in there as well. How should I tackle this problem?

  • 1
    You have tried Make XY Event layer? Or how do you import the data?
    – BERA
    Feb 21, 2020 at 11:15
  • No I have added the spreadsheet to ArcMap and then tried to "Display XY data"
    – winecity
    Feb 21, 2020 at 11:21
  • The tricky part is that I have coordinate numbers of varying lengths, some are displayed with 6 numbers, some with 7.
    – winecity
    Feb 21, 2020 at 11:33
  • You will have to specify which coordinate system your points are in. Those aren't latitudes and longitudes, it looks more like UTM to me. Do you know the coordinate reference system of your points? Or, do you know approximately where your points are supposed to be in the world?
    – FSimardGIS
    Feb 21, 2020 at 17:44
  • As you said, some of your coordinate values seem inconsistent, some have less digits, it looks like some may have been mistyped. This will be harder to deal with... maybe you can try adding a "0" (multiply them by 10) and see if it makes sense.
    – FSimardGIS
    Feb 21, 2020 at 17:49

1 Answer 1


In Excel reload your file and export it in CSV format. Reload the CSV file in ArcMap. CSV files do wonders. Also always remember that we are used to say Lat-Long, however from a mathematical point of view, I always say Long-Lat to remind myself that "Long is X" and "Lat is Y".

  • Strange, when I save the spreadsheet in CSV format, the 'latitude' column disappears..
    – winecity
    Feb 21, 2020 at 11:50
  • That is an Excel thing, try selecting the data and then save as csv (I mean in Excel)
    – GforGIS
    Feb 21, 2020 at 11:51
  • Actually, it seems to be an ArcGIS thing. I can see the lat lon fields in the attribute table. But the Display XY tool does not recognise the lat field. The Make XY Event Layer does recognise both tho, however it gives me an error. I really think that the varying lengths of the coordinates might be the problem here, don't you think?
    – winecity
    Feb 21, 2020 at 12:04
  • I can't remember when was the time I used space delimited files, I have always used Comma Separated Values (CSV) it resolves all unnecessary issues in my point of view.
    – GforGIS
    Feb 21, 2020 at 12:08

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