How to Convert Excel to KMZ
By Christine Kim
A KML file – Keyhold Markup Language – is an XML-based file that displays geographic data for Earth-viewing software, like Google Earth and Google Maps. It uses a tag-based structure, along with nested elements, and saves important location-based information, such as latitude and longitude data. A KMZ file is a ZIP-compressed version of a KML file. You can convert data from Microsoft Excel to a KMZ file by setting up a KML-compatible spreadsheet, then compressing it.
Open up Microsoft Excel and create a new sample document. In cell A1, type "Latitude," and in cell B1, type "Longitude." In order for your file to be read as a KML file, these columns must be present.
Type "Name," "Description," and "Icon" for cells C1, D1 and E1, respectively. The "Name" is the label appearing next to each icon in Google Earth, while "Description" is text that appears in the Google Earth pop-up balloon. The "Icon" assigns an icon used for each point. If nothing is placed in the Icon column, a unlabeled pin image (icon number 166) will be displayed by default.
Type in the latitude of your first location in cell A2. Use the WGS 84 geodetic datum, which is currently utilized by GPS and the U.S. Department of Defense for geospatial activities (see link in Resources). If you are entering the latitude as decimals, you should use negative numbers for all southern latitudes, while using positive numbers for all northern latitudes.
Type in the longitude of your first location in cell B2. If you are entering the longitude as decimals, use negative numbers for all western longitudes and positive numbers for all eastern longitudes.
Type in an alternative name for for your first location in cell C2. For cell D2, type in the optional pop-up text. If you're more familiar with Excel, you can also create a formula that links the values from the columns.
Type in your optional icon information in cell E2. You can customize an icon by entering the URL of a file you have uploaded. You can also display one of Google's default icons by selecting a black-and-white icon with an ID between 301 and 570, or a color icon with an ID between 1 and 279.
Continue typing in all the rows of data for each location you want to include in your KMZ file. After you have finished, save your file as an Excel XLS document. You can also save it as an XLSB binary workbook, TXT tab-delimited, XLSX workbook or a CSV comma-delimited text file.
Switch to a ZIP archiving program in order to create a ZIP file that contains your Excel file. Edit the file extension from ZIP to KMZ.
In Excel, you can also add columns for additional identifiers and functions, in order to change the size of Google Earth's default icons. This creates additional text descriptions of your location to your list of "Places" in Google Earth's navigational structure.
You also only need to create a KMZ file if your original KML file is larger than 10 kilobytes.
Typing in the wrong latitude or longitude values, or omitting them altogether, will prevent your location from appearing on Google Earth.
Christine Kim has been a writer and editor since 2002, working with Columbia University, Harvard Business School and University of Alabama Press. She holds a Master of Arts in interdisciplinary studies and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing.