Okay not the most exciting topics ever approached but hopefully this is useful.

  1. Open ArcMap and Excel
  2. ‘Right-Click’ on your polygon layer in ArcMap and select “Open Attribute Table”
  3. Now Click on the Options button and then “Select All”
  4. In the rightย left* hand grey column (see the small black arrow? click there) ‘Right-Click’ to see this menu:
  5. Now switch to a blank workspace in Excel and paste your data, voila!

Okay you can export this data as a file but after step 3, select ‘Export’ and select your file format dbase, txt, File and Personal Geodatabase tables. I tend not to use this method as I find copy and paste far simpler.

Updated: Click on the left column/border (in grey), thanks to Pepix for spotting my error, apologies for any confusion.


  1. Thanks for your kind words, I'm glad my blog post has been of some use! As to your query I haven't pasted it in the way you descibe. I'll have a look and post something here if I find anything…

  2. perfect!! But i am still wondering how to make this with "export data" thing which results with .csv format ๐Ÿ™‚

    • In response to Elliot and Anonymous on the 15th of May regarding exporting into .csv file you do not necessarily have to export it as a .txt before converting it into a .csv in Excel as long as you already have a .csv file anywhere on your pc. When using ‘Export’ (under ‘Option’ in your opened ‘Attribute table’) you simply have to find your way (browse) to this already existing .csv file (browse ‘Output Table’ in the ‘Export Data’ pop up window, then use ‘Look in’ in the ‘Saving Data’ window to go where the file is) and click on it (once!) (Make sure that ‘Save as type’ is ‘Text file’ while you are looking for you old .csv file otherwise it won’t appear). Once you have clicked on it and its name appears in the ‘Name’ window of the ‘Saving Data’ window, change the name of the file (write the name you want to save it as) but leave the .csv extension. Then browse back to where you really want this file to be saved using the ‘Look in’ drop down bar (i.e you have now chosen the name and the format, but need to find the right folder where you want to save it as the current folder was only used to find the old .csv file). Click ‘Save’. Done, your data is now in a .csv file that can be directly opened in Excel without having to import it as .txt. Hope this is not too convoluted.

  3. In response to Pepix (apologies for the substantial delay): If you have MS Access you can always open up your geodatabase in there, I have found that useful for pasting in excel data. Obviously this depends on whether this is just a data table or actually a layer with say polygons in it. You need a feature in the layer to paste you data to, so create using edit in ArcMap your polygons/points/lines and then open it up in excel and paste the data. WARNING: I'm only outlining how you might go about it, please proceed with caution and always backup your data before trying this!

  4. In repsonse to Anonymous on the 15th May 2010 – I'm not sure exactly what you want to do but if its creating a csv file then follow the steps above to make a TXT file. This is a csv file (i'm not sure why you can't name it a csv), anyway you can open up txt files in Excel, it then asks a series of questions (a text import wizard) before opening it. Basically the txt file is your table seperated by commas (,) not tabs….. hope this helps!

  5. i have found that the column you are referring to is on the left side of my screen, then select copy all.

  6. thanks for the post. however, when I try to do step 4 "Copy selected" can not be selected. Does anyone know why or do you have another idea on how to export the data into excel.
    Thanks a lot!

    • use the xtools pro version 6.0. When you have it? a lot of tricks you can make…. it will make your work more easier…. gudluck!!!!!!

    • I Guess you are in the editing mode. i had problem with exporting as dbf and exporting this way is way too easy. just stop editing and follow the steps.

  7. In response to anonymous on the 6th August:
    Thanks for reading my post, the "copy selected" can only be clicked on if you have selected rows in the table. Sometimes you can unselect by accident when right clicking on grey column…. hope this helps!

  8. Well, I have the same problem… Everything is selected, but the "copy selected" doesnยดt work…
    Any idea?

  9. hmmm I've not come across this, what filetype is this and is anything else going on (edit mode on or off? etc)? Can anyone reading this help? I'll tweet it and see if anyone can respond….

  10. i’m trying to do this with a table i created within arcmap i opened it selected all the cells but the “copy selected” is greyed out still, i really need help….

  11. I’ve not come across the option being greyed out as you describe it. As long as you have selected all the cells I would have thought this method works. Perhaps you could provide more details or go to the ESRI web forums for more expert help? Anyone reading this got any suggestions?

  12. YES!
    Thank You!!
    Holy heck, I messed around a lot trying to figure this out, and so simple. Why not have this in the ARC help menu?

  13. It doesn’t works if I want to copy a lots of rows to excell. When I copy and paste about 3000 rows (only two columns),after this operation in excell is only about 2000 rows.
    I dont know why.

    • Not sure why this happens, I think the Excel row limit is 65000, perhaps this is a ArcGIS limitation? Sorry can’t be of much help, anyone reading this have any ideas?

  14. Excel didn’t let me paste it when I tried this, but then again I tried it with 15,000+ rows… Maybe there is a limit from ArcMap or something… Exporting to .txt and opening as a csv from Excel worked great though. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for the tips!

  15. When I export a database to (.DBF) it ends up truncating the last digit (in my case from 10 digits to 9) from any LONG field types in my database. It happens with both File Geodatabase and (.MDB) ones. I am using ArcGIS 10 SP5. Does anyone else experience this?

  16. how can i copy a column in excel to arcgis 10?
    in arcgis9 you can copy a column from excel to a column of arcgis table but in version10 it is not allowed? how can we do?

  17. I was having trouble with getting it to paste into Excel (using Ctrl-V), but finally got it to work by right clicking in a cell in Excel and selecting Paste Special, then selecting Text. Takes a couple seconds for a big file, but not too bad..
    Hope this helps.

  18. Hi.
    This works for me on some layers, on others the attribute table just shows row one but none of my data?
    Do you know why this happens, and what i can do about it.
    When selecting the data everything shows up in the identify window, but somehow it forgets everything when i want to look at it in the attribute table?

  19. This is amazing, I’ve been looking for this for a while. Thank you! I don’t know why the hide the function in the side bar, they should put it in the main drop down list.

  20. Hallo,

    the new version of the GISconnector for Excel has just been released. Among many improvements, now you are able to connect your ArcGIS data to your existing Excel data based on alphanumerical columns. Then you can transfer data, selections and filters between ArcGIS and Excel – everything without an editing session…it is really good!

    These functions are completely free now:

    -Export Excel data directly to an ArcGIS table from Excel

    – Export ArcGIS attribute data to Excel

    To get a trial or use the free features: http://www.gisconnector.com

  21. I’ve not read all the comments but am extremely confused by the fact that there is an issue at all…
    Why not just go to “Export table” and then select the text option but change the extension to .csv…..voila and Excel format table.
    …as for paying money for add-ons? Crazy talk

    • Thanks Nicoloas, well I’m not sure either, I guess people expect to be able to copy and paste between programs quickly and easily with running some kind of tool. This is easily one of the most popular posts on my blog, so clearly there is an issue somewhere! It’s the age old problem of some wanting simple push button solutions and all the technical people answer with is ‘why don’t you just run the GP tool?’ or ‘why don’t you just use the command-line?’ ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. Crikey bloody malarkey, thank you for this!!! Trying to complete an exercise for a university GIS tutorial that says to export data from a table to a .txt file, THEN open with excel … have spent an hour trying to export to .txt with no luck – this has helped so much, I’ve got my data straight into excel where I need it now, thank you!

    • Haha, you’re welcome, this is still weirdly the most popular post on this blog. You can also run a GP tool that does a full export of the table as well, but this method seems more convenient for people. Have a great day ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. Every time I try this (even with Paste Special>text) it only pastes the first line even though all my lines (about 100 lines) are selected in the attribute table ๐Ÿ™

    And I’ve tried exporting but there is no option to export as .csv in 10.2 – I’ve tried text and .dbf but neither of those work. Any advice?

    • A little late in responding, but as a previous poster mentioned if you export as text, change the .txt extension to .csv prior to saving. The file can then be directly opened by Excel (no need to specify delimiters/go through the Excel data import steps).

  24. great article, you explain it very well and detail. Mine also has same topic but in simplified version.

  25. It helped. Thanks. In fact, research not itself but hiccups where we need these little tricks take most of our time. Another clue here is also to keep the attribute table open when you paste it down in your excel sheet. Otherwise, paste never happened in my case. Thanks again.

  26. I savour, cause I discovered exactly what I was looking for.
    You have ended my four day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have
    a great day. Bye

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