When adding a new sheet to a joined Excel file in ArcGIS Desktop, the new sheet will not show till I exit both arcgis and excel.

Is there a better way to update the connection?

I have some projects based on an excel workbook joined to a specific feature class (based on an identical field). That workbook has many worksheets, each one joined to a different field in the feature class, and sometimes there is the need to add new data, in a new worksheet (I wouldn't want to create a new workbook for each new table that needs to be joined), and create a join. That's where my problem is: I can't find the way to refresh ArcMap, so it recognizes a newly added worksheet in the excel, without restarting ArcMap.

  • Great answer Geog. Some experimentation with this reveals that if you revise the excel file and re-open your .mxd your revision will be reflected in the worksheet you added as a data source but will not be reflected in the table to which it was joined. In other words the connection to excel is dynamic for the linked table but not when the linked table is joined to a different data source. The join isn't dynamic.
    – Eric
    Commented Sep 25, 2014 at 13:57

1 Answer 1


you must add the excel sheet all over and preform the "join by attribute" again. the connection to excel is not dynamic. here is more about how to use Microsoft Excel files in ArcGIS: When working with Microsoft Office Excel files, there are a few things to keep in mind:

ArcGIS supports both Excel 2003 and earlier.xls files and Excel 2007 .xlsx files. One advantage of Excel 2007 is that it allows much larger worksheets (1,048,576 rows by 16,384 columns) than you can have in Excel 2003 (65,536 rows by 256 columns).

If you have an .xlsx file you want to use in ArcGIS but do not have Excel 2007 installed, you will need to install the 2007 Office System Driver. It can be downloaded from the Microsoft Download Center. If you have Microsoft Excel 2010 or no version of Microsoft Excel installed, you must install the 2007 driver before you can use either .xls or .xlsx files.

Excel tables are read-only in ArcGIS as well as in Excel when you have a workbook open in ArcGIS.

Field names are derived from the first row in each column of the worksheet. You can view the properties, set aliases for the field names, and set field visibility on the Fields tab of the table's Properties dialog box.

Excel does not enforce field types for values during data entry like standard databases do. Therefore, the field type specified in Excel is not used in determining the field type exposed in ArcGIS.

Instead, field type in ArcGIS is determined by a scan of the values in the first eight rows for that field. If the scan finds mixed data types in a single field, that field will be returned as a string field, and the values will be converted to strings.

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