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How to create a drop-down list in Google Sheets

Here's a rundown on how to drop down.
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Published onMarch 26, 2023

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.

QUICK ANSWER 

To add a drop-down list to your Google Sheets spreadsheet, click Data > Data validation. In the pop-up window, select the desired list type under Criteria and click Save to apply the drop-down list.


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
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Next, you will find two list options within the criteria: A list from a range or a 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 want 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 switches 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 the 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, press Ctrl + V (or Cmd + V on a Mac), or drag the mouse across the spreadsheet to paste it 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. Select the drop-down list and then navigate to Conditional Formatting from the Format menu to do so.

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.

To create a drop-down list in Google Sheets with multiple selections, follow these steps:

  1. Select the cell or cells where you want the drop-down list to appear.
  2. Click on the “Data” menu and select “Data validation.” In the “Criteria” section, choose “List of items” from the drop-down menu.
  3. In the “List of items” field, enter the items you want to appear in the drop-down list, separated by commas.
  4. Check the “Show validation help text” box if you want to add a message to guide users on how to use the drop-down list.
  5. Check the “Allow multiple selections” box to enable users to select multiple items from the list.
  6. Click “Save” to apply the drop-down list to the selected cells.

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