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Tutorial: Adding a drop-down menu in Excel

It's much quicker to add data to your spreadsheet if you insert a data entry menu in the cell. Discover how to use the Data Validation options in Excel to insert a drop-down menu. By Sean McManus, from the book 100 Top Tips: Microsoft Excel

You can ensure data is valid and speed up its entry by putting a drop-down menu in a cell. This is one of the data validation options.

  1. Select the cell(s) where you want to use the menu.

  2. Click Data Validation on the Data tab of the ribbon to open the Data Validation options. There's a shortcut: press ALT, D, and L one at a time.

  3. In the Allow drop-down menu, choose List.

    screenshot of Excel showing the Data Validation options

  4. In the Source box, type the menu items, separated by a comma. Click OK.

  5. If you prefer, you can use data that's in a spreadsheet row, column, or named range (see p.41). In that case, enter an = sign followed by the name in the Source box, or enter = there and then select the menu items on the spreadsheet using the mouse. It's easy to edit your menu later by simply editing those cells.

  6. When you select one of the cells, a menu will appear so you can select the data you'd like to enter in that cell.

    screenshot of Excel showing the pulldown validation menu in a spreadsheet


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About 100 Top Tips: Microsoft Excel

This tutorial is from 100 Top Tips: Microsoft Excel. The powerful pocketbook helps you to learn more from your data, be more productive with Excel, and improve the accuracy of your spreadsheets. It's packed with shortcuts, tips, and hacks for Excel that solve everyday business problems. Find out more and download a free PDF sampler here, and order the book online here.

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