Understanding how to make a cemetery plot map is essential, especially when transitioning from manual records to digital ones. This task, crucial for meeting your local or national regulatory requirements, may seem daunting. However, starting with free plot layout tools can simplify this process. This guide aims to help you navigate through this digitization journey, enhancing benefits for you, your cemetery trust, and the community.
Excel: Most-used digital cemetery plot map template
In an increasingly digital age, many cemeteries are adopting digital tools for efficient management. Excel, with its familiar interface and organized platform, is often the first choice for transitioning from paper to digital records. Despite not fulfilling all governmental requirements for cemetery data management due to its limited public access and error-prone nature, Excel remains popular for its accessibility and utility in record-keeping.
However, Excel’s limitations, particularly its weak mapping functionality and difficulty accurately linking records to physical locations, highlight its design for data management, not cemetery mapping. Representing complex cemetery layouts, such as curved rows and inconsistent plot widths, is challenging with Excel, preventing it from being a comprehensive cemetery management solution.
Nonetheless, Excel’s widespread use provides a valuable foundation when transitioning to specialized software, like Chronicle Cemetery Software. Chronicle, purpose-built for cemetery management, offers superior mapping, integrated data management, and secure, accessible storage. Transitioning to Chronicle can leverage existing Excel data, speeding up digitization and offering a comprehensive solution that overcomes Excel’s inherent challenges. Thus, while Excel serves as a good starting point, Chronicle offers the next step for advanced, holistic cemetery management.
How to make a cemetery plot map with Excel
Creating a cemetery plot map with Excel can be a practical and efficient method for managing cemetery data. You can follow the general steps on how to make a cemetery plot mat with Excel below. However, depending on your proficiency and the complexity of your cemetery’s layout, the approach may vary:
Start with Excel: Open Microsoft Excel and initiate a new workbook. This will serve as your working document for the cemetery plot map.
Set up Columns: Designate the first row of the sheet as your header row, establishing columns that encapsulate the needed data. Typical columns may include ‘Grave Number’, ‘Name’, ‘Birth Date’, ‘Death Date’, ‘Grave Location’, etc.
Enter Cemetery Layout: Under the ‘Grave Location’ column, assign a distinct identifier to each plot. One way to do this could be by using letters for rows and numbers for columns. For instance, ‘A1’ would represent the first plot in the first row, ‘A2’ the second, and so on, continuing with ‘B1’, ‘B2’, etc., for subsequent rows.
Populate Data: Fill in the information for each plot under the relevant columns. For example, ‘Grave Number’ could be the unique identifier assigned by the cemetery, ‘Name’ would be the deceased’s name, ‘Birth Date’, and ‘Death Date’ would be their respective dates, and ‘Grave Location’ would be the identifier you assigned earlier.
Cell Formatting: Excel’s formatting tools can help improve readability. Adjust the column widths so the text fits comfortably within each cell, apply bold or italic formatting to headers to distinguish them, and use different font styles or sizes to highlight important information.
Conditional Formatting (Optional): This feature allows you to automatically apply specific formatting, like background or text color, to cells that meet certain criteria. For instance, you could highlight all plots occupied in the last five years or highlight those reserved for veterans.
Create a Legend (Optional): If you use colors or symbols to differentiate between different types of plots or sections, creating a legend will help others understand your map. The legend can be placed in an unused corner of the worksheet or on a separate sheet within the workbook.
Sort and Filter Data (Optional): You can sort data alphabetically, numerically, or by date, or filter to display only certain types of plots. This feature can be particularly useful when managing large cemeteries or looking for specific information.
Save and Print: Once your map is complete, don’t forget to save your workbook. You can also print copies of the map or share the digital file as needed.
Update Regularly: The accuracy of your map depends on its upkeep. As new graves are added or existing ones are updated, reflect these changes in your Excel map.
OR you can just easily download our cemetery plot map templates for FREE.
Chronicle wants to support every cemeteries to go online, leave the paper documents, have a proper online database, and digitise their cemeteries. We have prepared two versions of cemetery plot templates: a simple version for those new to Excel and an advanced one for more experienced users. With the downloaded templates, you will find detailed instructions to guide you, regardless of the complexity of your cemetery. Click the button below to download these free templates and read the full instructions of how to use our cemetery plot map templates.
What to do after making a cemetery plot map with the Excel templates?
Remember that while Excel can offer a basic solution for cemetery mapping, it has its limitations, especially when it comes to mapping intricate layouts. Excel records can serve as valuable stepping-stones when transitioning to specialized software like Chronicle, designed specifically for cemetery management, providing an easy way to digitize your records.
After you have created your own cemetery plot map in Excel files, you can move forward to transitioning to more specialized software, such as Chronicle. By exporting data from Excel and importing it into Chronicle, you can leverage your existing work–even if you do not have the Excel files of your cemetery plot map–to the digital versions without hassle. Chronicle will take care of your needs and you will get the results you expected, that is the interactive, digital cemetery mapping integrated with data management and many other advanced features. Plus, we will also assist you to get you familiar with our easy-to-use cemetery software.
So, if you want to learn more about how we can help you digitise your cemetery, or you need our assistance to help you using the cemetery plot map templates, feel free to reach out to us.