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How to create a drop-down list in Google Sheets

Here's a rundown on how to drop down.
By
August 15, 2022
Google Sheets next to calculator stock photo 2
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Drop-down lists are one of Google Sheet’s many valuable features for efficient data entry. They are especially great for interactive charts and task updates. They also ensure that each data entry is error-free since users can select pre-defined options instead of manually entering the data. Here’s how to create a drop-down list in Google Sheets.

Read more: How to add, hide, or remove columns and rows in Google Sheets

QUICK ANSWER 

To add a drop-down list to your spreadsheet, click Data --> Data validation, then select the desired list type under Criteria.


JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS 

How to create a drop-down list in Google Sheets

First, open a spreadsheet in Google Sheets and select the cells where you want to create a drop-down list. Then, click Data –> Data validation.

data validation google sheets
Adam Birney / Android Authority

Next, you will find two list options within the criteria: List from a range or List of items.

drop down criteria
Adam Birney / Android Authority

When creating a list of items, each item must be separated by commas, as shown in the image below. Enter the data you’d like to be selectable from the drop-down list here.

List of items drop-down
Adam Birney / Android Authority

To create a list of ranges, you must specify the cells included in the list. Use this method if you already have items entered in cells that you’d like to put into a list.

List of range drop-down
Adam Birney / Android Authority

When you’re done, click Save.

How to edit a drop-down list in Google Sheets

Managing a drop-down list is nearly the same as creating one. First, select the cell or cells you’d like to change. Then, click Data –> Data validation.

edit drop down list google sheets
Adam Birney / Android Authority

To change the listed options, edit the items next to Criteria. If you change the contents of the range you’ve selected, it changes automatically in each list.

edit drop-down list google sheets
Adam Birney / Android Authority

You can also check the box beside Show drop-down list in cell to display a down-arrow as a visual reminder of where it’s placed.

Show warning means that if a user enters data in a cell that doesn’t match an item on the list, they’ll see a warning. Alternatively, if you want people to only enter items from the list, choose Reject input next to On invalid data.

Expand your list to multiple cells

If you want to add your drop-down list to other cells, there’s an easy way to do so without creating a new drop-down list every time.

Click on the drop-down list you want to copy, and then press Ctrl + C on the keyboard to copy it (or Cmd + C on a Mac). Select the cell you’d like to paste it to and press Ctrl + V (or Cmd + V on a Mac) to paste or drag the mouse across the spreadsheet to past to multiple cells.

expand drop-down list google sheets
Adam Birney / Android Authority

How to remove a drop-down list in Google Sheets

First, select the cell or cells you’d like to change. Then, click Data –> Data validation.

edit drop down list google sheets
Adam Birney / Android Authority

Click Remove validation to delete a list. You can delete multiple lists by specifying the cell range as well.

remove validation
Adam Birney / Android Authority

FAQs

You can use conditional formatting to color-code your drop-down list, making user selection more accessible. To do so, select the drop-down list and then navigate to Conditional Formatting from the Format menu.

From there, you can customize the formatting rules, such as text to appear green if it reads Yes or red for No, for example. Learn more about conditional formatting in our guide.

Select your drop-down list, and then navigate to Conditional Formatting from the Format menu. You can customize the formatting rules from there, such as applying conditional formulas to rows or columns. Learn more about conditional formatting in Google Sheets in our guide.