How to Create Drop Down Lists in Cells – The Complete Excel Guide

In this video you will learn how to create drop down lists in cells in Excel. These are also referred to as Data Validation Lists. The drop down lists allow the user to select from a drop-down menu of items and input the value in the cell. Download the practice Excel file:

Drop-down lists in cells are great for data entry or inputs for interactive financial models.

I explain how to:
– Create the drop down list from a comma separated list.
– Create the drop down list from a range of cells.
– Use keyboard shortcuts to select items from the list.
– Copy or apply the drop down lists to other cells.
– Handle errors and invalid inputs.
– Add new data to the source range and update the list.

Compatibility: Data validation drop-down lists are available in all versions of Excel including Excel 2003, 2007, 2010, 2016, 2019, Office 365 for Windows and Excel 2011, 2016, and beyond for Mac.

The Free List Search Add-in:
Unfortunately we can’t directly search the drop down lists within Excel. So I created a free add-in called List Search that allows you to search any drop down list and input the value in the cell.

It’s packed with additional time saving features. Click the link below to learn more and download List Search.

Download The List Search Add-in:

Other Videos and Resources:

– How to create Dynamic drop-down lists:
– How to search drop-down lists:
– Update to List Search Add-in:
– Dependent Cascading Drop Down Lists:


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23 thoughts on “How to Create Drop Down Lists in Cells – The Complete Excel Guide

  1. thank you for the video very informative indeed. but my excel is not letting me select the data source, the only option i have is to type, any suggestion how to enable the same.

  2. Jon, excel in mac is not allowing me to source data from a different worksheet. You were able to do so very easily. Do you know what may be the problem? Thanks in advance!

  3. hello Jon, after creating this Dropdown I want the sheet which I created extra for the options to disappear, but when I delete the extra sheet than the formatting disappears. What can I do?

  4. Hi Jon, great video, thanks. I had a question; what is I am just creating an entire spreadsheet where that entire column (ANY new cell in that column) will have the dropdown list option?
    I am creating an error log for my daily design process for my department, and want to track all of the complaints. Rather than selecting a range, I would rather that any new entries in that column have the drop down list applied, does that make sense?

  5. You are great! You thoroughly explained the steps and provided great instructions. You also spoke very calm, slow, and clear. THANKS A BUNCH!!!

  6. I am unable to click onto the sheet containing my dropdown values. It is only allowing me to choose from the sheet i am working on. What do i do?

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