Techie Tip of the Week: Creating Drop-Down Lists in Excel

When working in Excel, you may want (or need) to create a drop-down list to make it easier and faster to select data from a pre-created set of items — so you can just select them instead of having to type them in. This week’s tip will show you how to create a drop-down list in Excel.

To create a drop-down list:

  1. Enter the data for the pre-selected list. In this example, I’m entering the data in A1, A2, A3, and A4.
    cells a1-a4 have faculty, staff, student, and other
  2. Click the cell in which you want the drop-down list to be displayed. In this example, I’m using cell D1.
    screenshot of cell d1 selected
  3. Click the Data tab. Then, in Data Tools, click Data Validation.
    screenshot of data validation
  4. In the Settings tab, in Allow, select List.
    in Settings, in Allow, select List
  5. In Source, enter the cells with the data you entered in step 1, and then click OK.

    In this example, I have selected cells A1 – A4 as the source by typing in the following:
    =$A$1:$A$4

A drop-down arrow now appears in the cell you chose in step 2 (in my case, D1). Clicking the arrow on the list displays the data pieces, and you can now select one of them.

Next week, we’ll show you how you can create a list in Excel, but this time with data that is stored on a different worksheet!

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