How to Make a Drop-Down List in Excel

A drop-down list is a simple element for systematizing data in Excel.

This feature allows us, inside one cell, to get a whole list of data to choose from, and depending on the desired text/data, we can choose one of the options provided.

This greatly simplifies using the table and makes it convenient for several users to use the same book.

Here, we collected all the ways on how to add a drop-down list in Excel. 

Before moving on to the first method of how to insert dropdown in Excel, let’s take a look at the initial steps for each subsequent method.

The Initial steps

Step 1. Open Excel

Open Excel  

Step 2. Enter the required data in the cells

Enter the required data in the cells

Step 3. Select the range of cells to be in the drop-down list

Select the range of cells to be in the drop-down list

The first method of how to make a dropdown in Excel

Step 1. Select the cell where you want the Excel multiple selection dropdown should be

Select the cell where you want the Excel multiple selection dropdown should be

Step 2. Go to the “Data” window in the top menu

Go to the “Data” window in the top menu

Step 3. Click on the “Data Validation” shortcut

Click on the “Data Validation” shortcut

Step 4. Select the “List” line from the options in the drop-down window

Select the “List” line from the options in the drop-down window

Step 5. Point the mouse to the “Source” line 

Point the mouse to the “Source” line

Step 6. Select the range of the desired cells

Select the range of the desired cells

In the same window, you will have two lines you need to pay attention to:

you will have two lines you need to pay attention to

If there is a checkmark next to the first line, it means that whatever range you select, if there are blank cells among them, they will be ignored in the list.

The second way to insert a drop-down list in Excel

The next way on how to add a drop-down list in Excel starts exactly like the previous one. But the advantage of this method is that you do not have to enter the data that should be in the list into cells in Excel.

This is useful if you don’t need to display this data in the book. You enter information in the window of the drop-down list, and no one except you will have access to this information.

Step 1. Open Excel

Open Excel

Step 2. Go to the “Data” window in the top menu

Go to the “Data” window in the top menu

Step 3. Click on the “Data Validation” shortcut

Click on the “Data Validation” shortcut

Step 4. Select the “List” line from the options in the drop-down window

Select the “List” line from the options in the drop-down window

Step 5. Point the mouse to the “Source” line 

Point the mouse to the “Source” line 

Step 6. Enter manually the data to be displayed in the list separated by commas or semicolons

Enter manually the data to be displayed in the list separated by commas

What is the difference between entering data with a comma or a semicolon?

In the first case, all entered data separated by commas will be displayed in the same line of the list. It’ll look like this:

All entered data separated by commas will be displayed in the same line of the list

And if you enter the data separated by semicolons, each item will be displayed in a new item in the drop-down list. For example, it will look like this:

each item will be displayed in a new item in the drop-down list

The third way to create a drop-down list in Excel

There is another easy way of how to make a drop-down list in Excel. This method operates very easily on all Apple devices. To do this, you just need to find the “Tell me” window in the Excel window:

find the “Tell me” window in the Excel window

By clicking on it, you can enter the feature you are looking for. And the app itself will provide you with all the available buttons for this feature. This is how it looks in the example with a drop-down list:

the app itself will provide you with all the available buttons for this feature

You click on the desired line and then repeat the steps:

Step 1. Select the “List” line from the options in the drop-down window

Select the “List” line from the options in the drop-down window

Step 2. Point the mouse to the “Source” line 

Point the mouse to the “Source” line

Step 3. Select the range of the desired cells

Select the range of the desired cells

And now, you have a cell and Excel multiple selection dropdown. 

How to make a conditional drop-down list

Now, let’s look at a way of how to make a conditional drop-down list in Excel. Let’s imagine that you need to make a drop-down list of cells in which this feature has been already included. Let’s use an example. 

Step 1. Select the cell where you want the Excel multiple selection dropdown should be

Select the cell

Step 2. Go to the “Data” window in the top menu

Go to the “Data” window in the top menu

Step 3. Click on the “Data Validation” shortcut

Click on the “Data Validation” shortcut

Step 4. Select the “List” line from the options in the drop-down window

Select the “List” line from the options in the drop-down window

Step 5. Point the mouse to the “Source” line 

Point the mouse to the “Source” line 

Step 6. Select the range of the desired cells

Select the range of the desired cells

Repeat this procedure to make some more cells with a drop-down list. Do this as many times as you need. 

After that, follow the steps below to make a conditional drop-down list in Excel. 

Step 1. Select the cell where you want the Excel multiple selection dropdown should be 

Select the cell

Step 2. Go to the “Data” window in the top menu

 Go to the “Data” window in the top menu

Step 3. Click on the “Data Validation” shortcut

Click on the “Data Validation” shortcut

Step 4. Select the “List” line from the options in the drop-down window

Select the “List” line from the options in the drop-down window

Step 5. Point the mouse to the “Source” line 

Point the mouse to the “Source” line

Step 6. Using the equal sign select the cells with multi-selection you already have (you can either point to the desired cells or enter the data manually)

Using the equal sign select the cells with multi-selection

In such a way, you will have a conditional drop-down list in Excel. That is, the choice of data in this list will depend on the data that is currently included in the cells with drop-down lists we created in the first part of this method.


So, in this article, we have reviewed all the possible methods on how to insert a dropdown list in Excel. You can choose any of these options, which seemed to be easier for you than the rest ones. And now, you will be able to use Excel much better than other users.

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