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How To Add Drop Down List in Excel

  • Author:
  • Published on:
    November 2, 2023
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  • Last updated:
    April 6, 2024
How to add drop down list in Excel banner

Let’s take a look at how to add drop down list to make your spreadsheets more professional and user-friendly. We’ll take a look on how to create dynamic drop down menus using Excel tables as well as provide quick video walkthrough for those who enjoy video guides.

Creating a Basic Drop-Down List

Using Data Validation for Simple Dropdowns

Creating a basic drop-down list in Excel is an uncomplicated process, and it begins with harnessing the power of data validation.

Time needed: 2 minutes

Here’s how to add a drop down menu in Excel

  1. Select the Cell(s)

    To embark on this journey, first, identify the cell or cells where you want your drop-down menu to appear.
    Step 1 - select the dropdown menu fields

  2. Go to the Data tab

    Navigate to the “Data” tab at the top of your Excel window.
    Step 2 - click data tab on excel ribbon

  3. Set the Validation Criteria

    Under “Data Tools,” click on “Data Validation.” Here, you’ll configure the criteria for your drop-down list, such as what items you want to include.
    Step 3 - click data validation - excel screenshot - how to add a drop down list in excel

  4. Input the Dropdown List

    Now, in the “Settings” tab, specify the source for your dropdown list. This can be a range of cells or manually typed entries. To set up drop down click Allow settings, choose List and under Source insert the list you have in spreadsheet.
    Step 4 - set up data validation settings - to add drop down menu

Authors Note: Let us know if this how to guide helped you tackle this task. You might also find valuable how to insert checkbox and how to insert clustered pivot charts.

Here’s a quick video summary on how to do add dropdowns:

How To Add Drop Down Menu in Excel Spreadsheets From Existing List - Tutorial by Ajelix #excel #tips
Add drop down menu in Excel. Credit: Ajelix

Adding Dynamic Dropdown Lists

Creating a Dropdown List with Excel Tables

Excel Tables add a layer of dynamism to your drop-down lists, making data management more efficient.

1. Create an Excel Table

To initiate this process, select the data range that you want to include in your table. Go to the “Insert” tab, and under “Tables,” choose “Table.” Excel will recognize your data range and convert it into a table.

Insert table in excel to create a dynamic drop down list
Screenshot from Excel with steps to insert table

2. Define the Dropdown List

With your table in place, you can proceed to create a dynamic dropdown list. Select the cell where you want the dropdown and navigate to the “Data” tab. Under “Data Tools,” click “Data Validation.”

Step 3 - click data validation - excel screenshot - how to add a drop down list in excel
Screenshot from Excel on how to get Data validation tab. Credit: Ajelix

3. Expanding the List Automatically

In the “Settings” tab, set the “List” option as the source for your dropdown list. As you add or remove data to your table, your dropdown list will automatically expand or shrink, ensuring your spreadsheet remains up-to-date.

Test dynamic list in Excel
Screenshot from Excel with dynamic dropdown list. Credit: Ajelix

Test it yourself to see how it works in your sheet.

Authors Note: See how interactive charting can also help you reduce time spent on Excel enabling next level efficiency. Our team has created data visualization tool as well as guides on visualization practices and data storytelling to help you fast forward reporting.

Removing or Clearing Dropdown Lists

Deleting or Clearing a Dropdown Menu

Sometimes, it’s necessary to remove or clear existing dropdowns.

1. Clearing the Dropdown Content

To clear the content of a cell with a dropdown list, select the cell and press the “Delete” key. This action removes the selected item, leaving the cell empty.

2. Removing Data Validation Rules

If you want to entirely remove the dropdown functionality from a cell, navigate to the “Data” tab, select “Data Validation,” and choose “Clear All” under “Settings.” This will revert the cell to a standard data entry format.

Clear data validation rules on Excel
Screenshot from Excel clear data validation rules. Credit: Ajelix

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In conclusion, Excel’s drop-down menus are an invaluable asset for data management and user-friendly spreadsheet creation. From basic lists to dynamic tables, dependent dropdowns, and customized appearances, Excel’s data validation tools empower users to take control of their data and streamline the input process.

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