How to create a drop-down list in Excel

One of Excel’s many useful features is the ability to create drop-down lists that can then be added to a spreadsheet. These are great options when you want people to answer a question, using preset choices.

We will guide you step-by-step through the process of creating a drop-down list in Excel.

Set the contents of the list

The first thing you need to do is open a new Excel sheet. In the leftmost column, type the different things you want to appear in your list. Each entry needs to occupy one cell, with no empty cells between them, and all should be in the same column.

how to create dropdown list in excel

Once you’ve assembled your list, highlight all the entries and right-click them. From the menu that appears, select Identify the name.

how to create dropdown list in excel

This will bring up a window with the title New Name. inside Name Enter a title for your dropdown, making sure not to include any spaces.

how to create dropdown list in excel

Now click ALRIGHT.

Add drop-down lists to spreadsheets

Open an existing or new sheet, on which you want to place the drop-down list. Check the box where the list should appear, then go to the menu bar at the top of the page and select Data > Data Validation.

how to create excel drop down list

In the box that appears, you’ll see three tabs – Settings, Input Messages, and Error Alerts – we’ll take a look at each one.

how to create dropdown list in excel

The Settings tab will open by default, and here you will see two drop-down menus. Click Allow menu then select List. A new option will now appear at the bottom of the window, named Source. Click here and then type the = sign, followed by the name of your listing.

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how to create dropdown list in excel

Please make sure that Drop-down box in cell checked, and if you want people to be able to leave the field blank instead of choosing from your list, tick Skip the blank box too.

Once done, you can switch to the Input Messages tab, which allows you to create a message that will appear when the user clicks on the dropdown. This can be useful if the question you are asking is a complex one.

how to create dropdown list in excel

Just add a brief title in the relevant field, then enter an explanation in the main body Message input box. If you don’t need this feature, just uncheck Show input message when cell is selected at top.

The last tab is for Error Warnings. This works in a similar way to an Input Message, in that it notifies the user if they enter an invalid response. Again, you can enter a title and message, but this also has settings for Style.

how to create dropdown list in excel

Clicking this opens the three icons available with your notifications: Stop, Alert, and Info. Choose the one you feel fits the tune you’re following or to deliver with a warning message completely uncheck Show error warning after entering invalid data box.

Click ALRIGHT and now you will see an arrow in the cell you selected for the dropdown. When you click here, the scope of your answer will appear as if by magic.

how to create dropdown list in excel

That’s it. You have added a drop-down list to your worksheet. Now everyone will be amazed by your cutting-edge Excel-Fu and have you back to celebrate your greatness. Or they can just choose one of the answers from the list. Either way, it’s a winner.

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Posts “How to create a drop-down list in Excel” posted by on 2017-03-27 13:54:00. Thank you for reading the article at

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