Cairn Geographics Excel Documentation


Download the Excel add-in from the downloads page. You can install it temporarily by simply double clicking on the CairnGeographics-AddIn.xll file in your downloads; if you install it this way then it will be removed when you close Microsoft Excel.

If you'd like to install it permanently, then go to File -> Options, and click on the Add-ins category. In the Add-ins panel that appears, choose the Manage box, click Excel Add-ins, and then click Go. Now choose Browse and navigate to the CairnGeographics-AddIn.xll file that you downloaded. If you have any trouble, the Microsoft support page on Excel Add-ins can be helpful.


To use Cairn Geographics, you will first need an API key to identify your client to the central geographic server. You can retrieve your API key by signing into, or ask your account manager to provide it to you. Store it somewhere safe, as it is your password to Cairn Geographics. It will be in a format that looks like CGIS-80c6d145-22ec-45da-a0fc-9f7e8666f062.

If the Cairn Geographics Add-in has been installed correctly, there will be a new tab at the far right of Excel's top ribbon called Cairn Geographics. Click on this tab, and there will be an input box where you can paste your API Key. Paste your API Key into the box, and if it is accepted then the icon will turn green and your remaining monthly queries will be displayed.

Quick Start

Cairn Geographics provides a number of new functions that you can use in your Excel formulas in the same way as you use built-in functions like SUM. These functions are listed below, along with examples:


Function Arguments Description Example
Geocode address Given a US postal address, returns the nearest latitude and longitude as a comma separated string =Geocode("947 S 700 E, Salt Lake City, UT")

Driving Distance/Time

Function Arguments Description Example
DrivingDistance start_lat, start_lon, end_lat, end_lon Compute the length of the shortest driving route (in meters) between two US points. =DrivingDistance(34.03,-118.49,34.06,-118.36)
DrivingTime start_lat, start_lon, end_lat, end_lon Estimate the driving time of the shortest route (in seconds) between two US points. =DrivingTime(34.03,-118.49,34.06,-118.36)

Geographic Boundaries

Function Arguments Description Example
EnclosingState lat, lon Get the postal code (e.g. CA, MA) of the state containing the input point. =EnclosingState(34.03,-118.49)
EnclosingZipCode lat, lon Get the five-digit zip code (e.g. 90034) of the zip code tabulation area containing the input point. =EnclosingZipCode(34.03,-118.49)
EnclosingMetro lat, lon Get the name (e.g. "Salt Lake City, UT") of the metro area (CBSA) containing the input point. =EnclosingMetro(34.03,-118.49)
EnclosingCounty lat, lon Get the name (e.g. "Los Angeles County") of the US county containing the input point. =EnclosingCounty(34.03,-118.49)


The functions below all include the argument demographics_key, which tells Cairn Geographics what information to extract for the relevant geographic area. All information comes from the most recent American Community Survey (ACS). Demographics keys can either be named data (e.g. "population" or "median_household_income") or expressions made up of ACS columns (e.g. "B05001002/B05001001").

Function Arguments Description Example
ZipCodeDemographics zip_code, demographics_key Look up demographic information for a given five-digit zip code. =ZipCodeDemographics("02138", "population")
StateDemographics state_code, demographics_key Look up demographic information for a given US state. =StateDemographics("GA", "B01001A003 + B01001B003")

Available demographics keys currently include:

Key Description
population Total 2015 population
pop_white Total population identifying as white alone (more info)
pop_black Total population identifying as black alone or in combination with other races (more info)
pop_asian Total population identifying as Asian alone or in combination with other races (more info)
pop_native_american Total population identifying as Native American/Pacific Islander alone or in combination with other races (more info)
pop_hispanic Total population identifying as Hispanic or Latino (more info)
median_household_income Median household income in 2015 inflation-adjusted dollars (more info)