How to Make Drop Down Fields in Microsoft Excel

by Tricia Goss Updated September 28, 2017
Tricia Goss

When creating spreadsheets in Excel into which other users will enter information, drop down lists can be extremely helpful. They make it easier for a user or several users to make an appropriate selection in a column or row. They also help the spreadsheet creator control the data entered into specific cells. Drop down fields can be as simple as "Yes" or "No," or contain detailed lists containing choices specific to a topic or organization.


Start Microsoft Excel. Open a new blank spreadsheet, or open the spreadsheet to which you want to add a drop down list.


Select the cell or the range of cells in which you want to make a drop down list.


Open the Data Validation dialog by going to the "Data" menu in Excel 2003 and selecting "Validation," or by clicking the "Data" tab of the ribbon in Excel 2007 and selecting "Data Validation."


Go to the "Settings" tab. Click the drop down arrow under "Allow" and select "List."


Type each list item into the "Source" box, placing a comma between each word in the list. Click "OK" to apply the list.


Rather than type the list directly into the Data Validation box, you can type it into separate cells on the spreadsheet and enter the cell reference into the Source field.

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  • Tricia Goss

About the Author

Tricia Goss' credits include Fitness Plus, Good News Tucson and Layover Magazine. She is certified in Microsoft application and served as the newsletter editor for She has also contributed to The Dollar Stretcher, Life Tips and Childcare Magazine.

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