How to Create a Drop Down List in Excel

This wikiHow teaches you how to create a drop-down list in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, using a computer. This feature allows you to create a list of items to choose from, and insert a drop-down selector into any empty cell on your spreadsheet. The drop-down feature is only available on desktop versions of Excel.

[Edit]Steps

[Edit]Creating A List

  1. Open the Excel spreadsheet file you want to edit. You can find and double-click a saved Excel file on your computer, or open Microsoft Excel and create a new worksheet.
    Create a Drop Down List in Excel Step 1 Version 4.jpg
  2. Enter the list of values for your drop-down in a column. Make sure to enter each drop-down entry in a separate, consecutive cell in the same column.
    Create a Drop Down List in Excel Step 2 Version 4.jpg
    • For example, if you want your drop-down list to include “New York,” “Boston,” and “Los Angeles,” you can type “New York” in cell A1, “Boston” in cell A2, and “Los Angeles” in cell A3.
  3. Click the empty cell you want to insert your drop-down. You can insert a drop-down list in any empty cell on your spreadsheet.
    Create a Drop Down List in Excel Step 3 Version 4.jpg
  4. Click the tab on the toolbar ribbon. You can find this button above the toolbar at the top of your spreadsheet. It will open your data tools.
    Create a Drop Down List in Excel Step 4 Version 4.jpg
  5. Click the button on the “Data” toolbar. This button looks like two separate cell icons with a green checkmark and a red stop sign. It will open a new pop-up.
    Create a Drop Down List in Excel Step 5 Version 4.jpg
  6. Click the drop-down in the “Data Validation” pop-up. You can find this menu in the pop-up’s “Settings” tab.
    Create a Drop Down List in Excel Step 6 Version 4.jpg
    • The Data Validation pop-up automatically opens up to the Settings tab.
  7. Select in the “Allow” drop-down. This option will allow you to create a list in the selected empty cell.
    Create a Drop Down List in Excel Step 7 Version 4.jpg
  8. Check the option. When this option is checked, you will create a drop-down list in the selected cell on your spreadsheet.
    Create a Drop Down List in Excel Step 8 Version 4.jpg
  9. Check the option (optional). When this option is checked, users will be able to leave the drop-down empty without an error message.
    Create a Drop Down List in Excel Step 9 Version 4.jpg
    • If the drop-down you’re creating is a mandatory field, make sure not to check this box here. Otherwise, you can leave it unchecked.
  10. Click the text box under “Source” in the pop-up. You can select the list of values you want to insert into your drop-down here.
    Create a Drop Down List in Excel Step 10 Version 4.jpg
  11. Select your drop-down’s list values on the spreadsheet. Use your mouse to select the list of values you want to insert into your drop-down on the spreadsheet.
    Create a Drop Down List in Excel Step 11 Version 4.jpg
    • For example, if you have “New York,” “Boston,” and “Los Angeles” in cells, A1, A2, and A3, make sure to select the cell range from A1 to A3.
    • Alternatively, you can manually type your drop-down list values into the “Source” box here. In this case, make sure to separate each entry with a comma.

[Edit]Customizing List Properties

  1. Click the tab in the “Data Validation” pop-up. It’s at the top of the pop-up window. This tab will allow you to create a pop-up message to display next to your drop-down list.
    Create a Drop Down List in Excel Step 12 Version 4.jpg
  2. Check the option. This option allows you to display a tiny pop-up message when the drop-down is selected.
    Create a Drop Down List in Excel Step 13 Version 4.jpg
    • If you don’t want to show a pop-up message, just leave the box unchecked.
  3. Enter a “Title” and an “Input Message. You can use this area to explain, describe or provide more information about the drop-down list.
    Create a Drop Down List in Excel Step 14 Version 4.jpg
    • The title and input message you enter here will show up on a tiny, yellow pop-up sticky next to the drop-down when the cell is selected.
  4. Click the tab at the top of the pop-up. This tab will allow you to display a pop-up error message whenever invalid data is entered into your drop-down cell.
    Create a Drop Down List in Excel Step 15 Version 4.jpg
  5. Check the option. When this option is checked, an error message will pop up when a user types invalid data into the drop-down cell.
    Create a Drop Down List in Excel Step 16 Version 4.jpg
    • If you don’t want an error message to pop-up, leave the box unchecked.
  6. Select an error style in the drop-down. You can select an option from Stop, Warning, and Information here.
    Create a Drop Down List in Excel Step 17 Version 4.jpg
    • The Stop option will show a pop-up error window with your error message, and stop users from entering data that isn’t in the drop-down list.
    • The Warning and Information options will not stop users from entering invalid data, but show an error message with the yellow “!” or blue “i” icon.
  7. Enter a custom “Title” and “Error message.” (optional) Your custom error title and message will pop up when invalid data is entered into the drop-down cell.
    Create a Drop Down List in Excel Step 18 Version 4.jpg
    • You can leave these fields empty. In this case, the error title and message will default to Microsoft Excel’s generic error template.
    • The default error template is titled “Microsoft Excel,” and the message reads “The value you entered is not valid. A user has restricted values that can be entered into this cell.”[1]
  8. Click the button in the “Data Validation” pop-up. This will create and insert your drop-down list into the selected cell.
    Create a Drop Down List in Excel Step 19 Version 4.jpg

[Edit]Video

[Edit]Tips

  • After you finish creating your drop-down list, open the drop-down list to make sure all the items you entered display properly. In some cases, you may need to widen the cell in order to display all your items fully.
  • When typing the list of items for your drop-down list, type them in the order in which you want them to appear in the drop-down menu. For example, you can type your entries in alphabetical order to make it easier for users to find certain items or values.

[Edit]Warnings

  • You will not be able to access the “Data Validation” menu if your worksheet is protected or shared. In this case, make sure to remove the protection or unshare the document, and then try to access the Data Validation menu again.[2]

[Edit]Related wikiHows

[Edit]References

[Edit]Quick Summary

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