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How to Create a Drop Down List in Excel

Using a Drop Down List for Data Entry

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How to Create a Drop Down List in Excel

How to Create a Drop Down List in Excel

© Ted French

Excel Drop Down List Overview

A drop down list allows you to enter data into an Excel worksheet from a pre-set list of entries.

Using a drop down list can make data entry easier and to prevent spelling mistakes and other errors, but it can also be used to limit the number of acceptable choices.

Related Tutorial: Expanded Step by Step Tutorial with Screen Shots on Creating a Drop Down List in Excel


Example: Creating a drop down list in Excel

As shown in the image to the left, this example will create a drop down list containing the names of four different types of cookies in cell E2.

  1. Enter the following data into cells:
    A1 - Gingerbread
    A2 - Lemon
    A3 - Oatmeal Raisin
    A4 - Chocolate Chip
    D2 - Cookie Type:

  2. Click on cell E2 - the cell where the drop down list will be located
  3. Click on the Data tab
  4. Click on the Data Validation option from the ribbon to open the drop down menu
  5. In the menu, click on Data Validation to bring up the Data Validation dialog box
  6. Click on the Settings tab in the dialog box
  7. From the Allow menu choose List
  8. Click on the Source line in the dialog box
  9. Highlight cells A1 - A4 in the worksheet to add them to the list
  10. Click OK to close the dialog box and return to the worksheet
  11. A down arrow should appear next to cell E2 indicating the presence of the drop down list
  12. When you click on the arrow the drop down list should open to display the four cookie names
  13. Clicking on a name in the list will enter the selection into cell E2

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