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PowerPoint Maps: How to Create Slides for Global Operations, Teams, and More

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to use PowerPoint Maps to highlight states, provinces, and countries on slides, and you’ll get practice combining Maps with shapes and other objects in PowerPoint.

PowerPoint maps are useful for showing the audience where a company operates or the locations of its key properties, factories, ports, and other assets:

PowerPoint Map - Example from Lazard

Source: Evercore’s Presentation to VTTI Energy Partners

If you’re using the 365 version of PowerPoint, there is a built-in “Map” type that you can use immediately.

If you’re using an older version or a desktop version that does not include Maps, you can download Microsoft’s templates and insert charts manually with them.

Video Table of Contents:

0:48: “Map” Chart Types in PowerPoint

8:08: Simple U.S. State Example

11:53: Exercise: Jazz Pharma Global Operations

18:25: Recap and Summary

[Click the “Files & Resources” tab to get all the PowerPoint files for this lesson.]

PowerPoint Maps: How to Insert Them

To insert a Map in the 365 version of PowerPoint, press Alt, N, C, 1 for “Insert Chart” and select “Map” on the left-hand side (press Alt, release it, press N, release it, press C, release it, and press 1 and release it).

Unfortunately, there is no equivalent shortcut in the Mac version of PowerPoint, so you’ll have to click the “Insert” tab in the ribbon menu and click on “Chart” there.

PowerPoint Maps - Inserting Charts

This will bring up a Map visual and an Excel window that lets you enter countries, states/provinces, and other areas, and enter a “strength” for each one on a numerical scale.

This numerical scale will change the color of each country based on its “rating” relative to the minimum and maximum.

For example, if you enter 1 for the U.S., 10 for Brazil, and 5 for Mexico, the U.S. might be displayed in a light shade of blue, Brazil will be in a dark shade of blue, and Mexico will be in a medium shade of blue.

By default, this Map uses 12 locations based on 13 rows of data in Excel (1 header row and 12 data rows):

PowerPoint Maps - Default Settings

If you want to use more than 12 locations, you can do so easily – contrary to what some online sources say about PowerPoint Maps being “limited” to 12 places.

To do this, right-click the Map, go to “Select Data,” and change the “Chart Data Range” to a bigger area:

PowerPoint Maps - Using More Than 12 Locations

If you wanted to, you could display all 195 countries in the world and make each one a slightly different color.

In most cases, though, you want to do something much simpler, such as displaying a company’s countries of operations or the states in which it owns properties.

You can enter a wide variety of different regions in this window, and PowerPoint does a good job of “figuring out” the correct way to display them.

Here’s one example that displays Canadian provinces and U.S. states:

PowerPoint Maps - States and Provinces

And here’s one that displays European countries:

PowerPoint Maps - European Countries

And here’s one that displays specific provinces within France:

PowerPoint Maps - Provinces in France

The Limitations of PowerPoint Maps

That said, Maps have some important limitations.

First, they do not work well when displaying something like U.S. states plus European countries; you should display countries or states/provinces, but not multiple “region types” on the same map.

Second, you must have an internet connection to use this feature because each Map relies on Bing (Microsoft’s search engine) to show the correct areas.

Third, PowerPoint Maps crash frequently, especially when you’re plotting something complex, such as 100+ countries.

Finally, unlike standard graphs such as bar and line charts, you cannot “ungroup” a Map.

So, instead of pasting in the Map as an “Enhanced Metafile” and ungrouping it to format it, you’ll have to hide the copyright information at the bottom with a “dummy shape”:

Hiding the Copyright Information with a Dummy Shape

If you want to practice, you can try replicating the “Pelican” map for a real estate investment trust in this KeyBanc presentation:

REIT Properties by State - KeyBanc Presentation

To save time, you can enter state abbreviations, such as “TX” for Texas, and you can enter the same number for each one in the right-hand column to ensure that each state uses the same color:

Entering State Information for a U.S. Property Map

You can also add chart elements by clicking the “+” symbol on the right, and you can right-click the Map and go to “Format Data Series” to change everything from the projection type to the displayed areas to the colors used for these states:

PowerPoint Maps - Changing the Formatting

However, it’s not possible to add “dots” that represent cities automatically.

To do this, you’ll have to insert a shape (Alt, 09 with our Quick Access Toolbar or Alt, N, SH for the default shortcut), select a circle, and format it appropriately:

Inserting Circles for the "City Dots" on PowerPoint Maps

Then, you can duplicate this shape on the Map and position the copies to represent the cities:

PowerPoint Map with "City Dots" Manually Inserted

Finally, if you want to move the “city dots” and the map together, you can select everything using the mouse and press the Ctrl + G shortcut to group them (⌘ + Opt + G on Mac).

PowerPoint Maps Exercise: “Global Operations” Graphs

For your practice exercise in this lesson, you need to create two PowerPoint Maps for Jazz Pharmaceuticals’ office locations worldwide (1 Map for the U.S. and Canada and 1 for Europe).

You can start with the “Before” slides and jump to slide 54 (use End on PC or Fn + –> on Mac) to find the insertion area.

For your reference, the company’s locations are as follows:

U.S.: Palo Alto, Carlsbad (San Diego), and Philadelphia

Canada: Vancouver and Mississauga (Toronto)

Europe: Oxford, Cambridge, and London (U.K.); Roscommon (Ireland), Madrid (Spain), Lyon (France), Munich (Germany), and Villa Guardia (Milan)

Palo Alto and Carlsbad are both in California in the U.S., and Philadelphia is in Pennsylvania.

In Canada, Vancouver is in British Columbia, and Mississauga is in Ontario.

The European cities’ countries are all listed above.

To get started, insert two Maps on your slide with the Alt, N, C, 1 shortcut.

For the one on the left, enter the U.S. states and Canadian provinces, ideally using the full names rather than abbreviations to avoid confusion:

U.S. State and Canadian Province Map

Then, do the same thing for the European map. You can enter “3” for the U.K. to represent the company’s 3 offices there and 1 for the other countries:

European Office Location Map

Once you have this set up, you can use the Alt, 09 shortcut from our Quick Access Toolbar to insert a small circle, change its formatting and size, and copy/paste it into the correct spots on the Maps to represent these cities:

U.S. Office Location Map with City Dots

If you want, you could also add city labels and connector lines, but this is a manual process and not recommended unless you absolutely need these labels.

Finally, you will need to insert a “dummy shape,” such as a white rectangle, to hide the copyright information from Bing and Microsoft in the bottom-right corners:

Hiding the Bing Copyright Information on the Map

More Advanced PowerPoint Training for Charts and Graphs

PowerPoint Maps are great for “Company Operations” and “Global Presence” slides, but there are many other chart types in PowerPoint.

For example, you could create bar charts natively in PowerPoint or paste them in from Excel, or you could create something more complex, such as the infamous “football field” chart that uses an Excel segmented bar graph and a PowerPoint table:

Football Field Valuation Chart in PowerPoint

We cover all these topics in the full PowerPoint Pro course and teach you how to build and format the same charts that investment banks use in their pitch books and other presentations.

Sign up today, and you can immediately access the full training.