How to add a drop-down list to an Excel cell


Excel drop-down lists are an excellent method for data entry. Keep your worksheets professional and tidy with Excels handy list feature.

In many online surveys and polls, it can be useful to limit the users choice for a selection with a drop-down list.  This feature can also be used in excel but the process can be a little tricky if you’re not an excel whiz.

To create your drop-down list in excel, we will be using the data validation feature.

You only need two things to begin: your list and the cell you that will contain the dropdown. The following sheet shows a simple drop-down list in an Excel sheet.

Excel Drop Down Cells

Users click the drop-down arrow to display a list of items from A1:A4. If a user tries to enter something that isn’t in the list, Excel rejects the entry. To add this drop-down list to a sheet, do the following:

Create the list in cells A1:A4. Similarly, you can enter the items in a single row, such as A1:D1.
Select cell E3. (You can position the drop-down list in most any cell or even multiple cells.)
Choose Validation from the Data menu.
Choose List from the Allow option’s drop-down list. (See, they’re everywhere.)
Click the Source control and drag to highlight the cells A1:A4. Alternately, simply enter the reference (=$A$1:$A$4).
Make sure the In-Cell Dropdown option is checked. If you uncheck this option, Excel still forces users to enter only list values (A1:A4), but it won’t present a drop-down list.
Click OK.
You can add the drop-down list to multiple cells. Select the range of data input cells (step 2) instead of a single cell. It even works for noncontiguous cells. Hold down the Shift key while you click the appropriate cells.

A few quick notes:

  1. You can only see the drop-down if you click on the cell.
  2. Your users can now only choose one of the options in the drop-down. If they try to enter their own data, then they’ll receive an error message.
  3. You can copy-and-paste this drop-down cell to any other cells in your spreadsheet, and you can create as many different drop-downs like this as you’d like.

Leave a Comment