How To Add Drop Down In Excel In Less Than 1 Minute?

How To Add Drop Down In Excel In Less Than 1 Minute?

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Rashmi Karan
Manager - Content
Updated on Aug 4, 2023 16:13 IST

Learn how to create dropdown lists in excel in less than 1 minute through example and implement an error message.


Adding a dropdown list to a cell helps us to allow the user to select data from a list that we have previously predefined. In this way, we maintain consistency in the information and prevent each user from entering a different value. The article will teach you how to add drop down in Excel in less than 60 seconds.


What is a Dropdown List in Excel?

Dropdown is a data validation function allowing users to pick an item from a list you create. The drop-down list displays in a cell with an arrow that enables choosing any of the displayed values ​​by clicking it.

This allows users not to enter the data manually, but instead, they must limit themselves to choosing the values ​​within the selection (drop-down list) and fill in the information just as they want it. 

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Dropdown in Excel helps to avoid spelling errors, problems with upper or lower case letters, and formats, which can cause a database to stop being homogeneous.

So before we move on, less understand its use.

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Use of Dropdown Lists in Excel

A dropdown menu allows you or other users to select specific values ​​or content from a pre-existing list. This has several advantages:

  1. Users can select values with a mouse click, so there is no need to type the entire term or number each time.
  2. The ability to choose prevents typographical errors.
  3. Since the values ​​are predetermined, it prevents another user from making a mistake by entering “unintended” values.
  4. Creating dropdown lists provides added convenience and makes the spreadsheet look professional.

Must Explore – Free MS Excel Courses

How To Add Drop Down In Excel?

Below are step-by-step instructions on how to build a dropdown list in Excel:

Step 1: Create a List of Options

List the options that you want users to choose from. In the below example, we have selected certain departments of an organization.

How To Add Drop Down In Excel 1

Must Read – Most Useful Excel Formulas

Step 2: Select a Cell and Go to Data Validation on the Ribbon

Choose the cell where you want the Excel dropdown list to appear. Hover on to the ribbon and click Data

How To Add Drop Down In Excel 2

Now locate the Data Validation function and click it. 

How To Add Drop Down In Excel 3

Keyboard shortcut – Alt + A + V + V

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Step 3: Select “List” and Link the Data

You will see a dialogue box. Select “List” if you are working on one. 

How To Add Drop Down In Excel 4

The next step is selecting the data you want to include in that list. This data will serve as the option for the next user. We have selected A2:A17.

How To Add Drop Down In Excel 5

Press OK. Your Drop Down List will be available on the desired cell (As selected in step 2).

How To Add Drop Down In Excel 6
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Error Alert

Drop-down lists are mainly for selecting data entry. You are not supposed to type it manually. The user can manually enter data in the cell that has the drop-down list, but if he enters incorrect data, an error alert will appear. However, the default error message will not suggest to the user what to write in the cell.

To check and correct the error, go to the ‘Error alert’ tab after you click ‘Data validation.’

Error Alert 1

Ensure you have checked the “Show error alert after invalid data is entered” box.

Add the title and error notification, and select an icon if you don’t like the default. In this example, we have written – Click the dropdown arrow to check what you are allowed to write here (You will see the same message appearing in the dialog box).

Error Alert 2

Click ‘OK.’

You will see this error message whenever invalid data is entered into the cell.

Error Alert 3

If you want to use this same list in other cells without going through the whole process, you can copy the format and paste it into other cells where you also want the same dropdown list to appear. We hope this article on how to add drop down in Excel was helpful.

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About the Author
Rashmi Karan
Manager - Content

Rashmi is a postgraduate in Biotechnology with a flair for research-oriented work and has an experience of over 13 years in content creation and social media handling. She has a diversified writing portfolio and aim... Read Full Bio