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PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 2:44 pm 
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Thematic maps / Live-data custom maps

History: Thematic maps are also called choropleth maps or tinted maps. This colourful name is the exact title given by French Baron Pierre Dupin in 1826 to his new type of map showing the “Forces productives et commerciales de la France”.
The terminology “choropleth map” came later, introduced by the American geographer John Kirtland Wright (1938: “Problems in Population Mapping”). Then came other designations: ‘intensity map”, “thematic map” (with customized editable maps), "interactive maps", “dynamic map”.

How to use BeGraphic to make your custom map in Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint?

Image Click on the “Geographical map” function (inside BeGraphic) to build maps in Excel:


Image Size and position the red dashed rectangle in the sheet to the right place. This is the maximum size of your future map.

Position (step 1):

You have to position the red dash rectangle to the right place in the worksheet. It represents the position and the maximum size of the gauge.


  • Snap to grid: select this option to snap the rectangle to the nearest worksheet cell grid line.
  • Snap to shape: select this option to snap the rectangle to the nearest shape in the worksheet.
  • Properties: choose if the gauge will move and size, move but don’t size or don’t move and don’t size with cells.

Then, click on the “Validate step 1” button.

Position (step 2):

This parameter is about the ratio aspect.

If you want your gauge keep its aspect (not distortion), select YES and define the anchor point to position it in the red dashed rectangle. Only the width or the height of the gauge will have the maximum size of the initial red dashed rectangle.

If you want a gauge which fills the entire red dashed rectangle, select NO, but the gauge may be distorted.

Once you have selected the option, click on the “Validate step 2” button.

Image Select the map in the library


  • Check if BeGraphic has the map you need inside its map library (1)
  • If the map you need is not inside our free library, here are 3 solutions :
    • 10,000 maps can be downloaded for free. Sent us an email at But we only reply to business mails because of the increasing number of requests. Then, download using WMF format and put them in C:\Program Files\BeGraphic\BeGraphic\Content\Maps.
    • Look on the web for "vector maps" (in WMF or EMF formats).
      Download using WMF format and put them in C:\Program Files\BeGraphic\BeGraphic\Content\Maps.
    • Make your own map by drawing freeform on top of images you want (using the Drawing toolbar as if it was tracing paper).
      (How to videos : here, here & here)

To add maps in the library, click on the “Add new maps in the library” button (2). This is optional.

Once you have chosen a map, click on “Insert in Excel” (3).

Image Prepare your data inside Excel

1. Put your data inside the table.
2. Use cell-based conditional formatting (no range-based). This format will be applied to the shapes linked to these cells.

Image Set up BeGraphic

1. Select the shape (Freeform, AutoShape, Picture...) you want to set up.

2. Make a right-click on it to access the "Set parameters" function.
Since Excel 2007: To find the "Set parameters" function, please use its button in the ribbon.

3. Choose the cell(s) that will control the animation of the shape. Indeed BeGraphic will duplicate the cell's format on the shape's one.

Then validate.

Here is an example when all countries are set up:

You can see the how-to tutorial video of an example here.

Image Put dynamic details (optional)

  • Adding text on the custom map:
    Inside Excel (same for PowerPoint), you can't directly add text (e.g.: Country name) inside Freeforms. That's because Microsoft blocked this option out of AutoShapes. Therefore you have to add a new TextBox in front of the map. Even if it sounds difficult, it is easier because you can put the text at the exact position you want. Of course you can make BeGraphic animate the TextBox the same way as the outline.
  • Changing the color of the border:
    To make BeGraphic change the border of a country (format : color and size), you have to set up the parameter of the shape defining the "source cell". By doing so, BeGraphic will replicate the format of the upper border of the source cell on the format the country's frontier.
    Be careful: if you change the format of the lower side of the top cell, it will change the upper side of the bottom cell.
  • To plot locations of the map, you have to do a manual work, point after point (e.g.: cities). No automatic plotting exists in BeGraphic because we don't know which scale, datum and projection your map is based on (Google maps can do it because its algorithm focuses on one single type of map based on the most popular projection, called WGS84 used by GPS).
  • Needing to add VBA macro? No, BeGraphic doesn't need Visual Basic (VBA) to make dynamic maps. But as our thematic maps are pure Microsoft Excel, you could also use them with your own macros.

Example of a thematic map in Excel

  • You can see the how-to tutorial video of this example here.
  • To use and/or modify this example
    1. Inside the BeGraphic ribbon, click on the last button called "Example and Help" to reach the demo collection.
    2. In the first sub-menu "Example of usage", pick the "United Kingdom demo" map.

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