How to Create a Dropdown List in Google Sheets

2 Ways to Create a Dropdown List in Google Sheets

  • Create dropdown list using a range of cells
  • Create dropdown list by manually specifying

Method 1: Create Dropdown List Using A Range Of Cells

In this method, we’ll be creating a dropdown list using an already existing range of cells. This works by creating a range of cells with the options we want present in our dropdown list. 

Step 1: Open up your Google spreadsheet file.

Step 2: Click on the cell(s) where you want to add a dropdown list.

Next, highlight or select the cell where your dropdown list is meant to be added into. For the purposes of this tutorial and for the ones following the spreadsheet provided above, click on A4. You can choose to drag this down as far as you want.

Step 3: Create the dropdown list with existing cells.

With those cells selected, click on Data and select Data validation.

Next to Criteria: make sure that the dropdown option selected is List from a range

With that done, you can click on the four-square icon at the right of the Criteria: box. This should allow you to select a data range. Now, you can either type it out or simply drag it from the spreadsheet. If you want to type it out, then type in ‘F4:F7’ for the sake of this tutorial. Alternatively, you can also simply drag the cells on the spreadsheet. 

When that’s done, you should be redirected back to the Data validation window. Simply click on Save to finalize and set your dropdown list.

Your previously selected cells should now look like this:

Step 4: Select an option from the dropdown list.

Finally, go ahead and click on the arrow pointing downwards to expand the dropdown list. 

Alternatively, you can also click on the cell itself and just type out the option you want to choose.

This will bring out a search field that will look for the text you just typed in through the available options in the dropdown list.

Method 2: Create Dropdown List By Manually Specifying

Step 1: Open up your Google spreadsheet file.

Step 2: Select the cell(s) where you want the dropdown list to be. 

For the next step, we’ll be highlighting the cells designated for the dropdown list.

Step 3: Manually input the dropdown list elements.

Similar to the previous method, click on the Data tab at the top part of your screen while your cells are highlighted. From there, click on Data validation.

Now, click on the dropdown menu next to Criteria: and select List of items.

This is the option that will allow us to manually specify the options we want on the dropdown list without taking it from the spreadsheet.

Go ahead and enter the elements that you want. However, for the ones following through on the sample document, type in ‘To Order, Pending, Shipping, Received’. The comma is the separator here.

Click on Save to finalize and set the dropdown list into your spreadsheet.

Step 4: Click on the dropdown list and select an entry.

That should be it! Click on the inverted arrow icon and select the option you want to enter!

Copy-Pasting Dropdown Lists

Before we go to the conclusion, let’s first figure out how to copy-paste dropdown lists. While it might not seem like a problem, there’s an issue with copying dropdown lists that might bug you later on. You see, if you copy-paste a dropdown list with a field that was already chosen, you’ll end up copy-pasting the dropdown list with that chosen field as well. Here’s what we mean:

We copy pasted the dropdown list that was already chosen with “To Order” and that ended up copy-pasting the To Order entry as well. While that might not seem like a problem, the issue here lies in the fact that you can no longer revert these lists into a blank copy easily. 

To fix that, you’ll have to copy-paste the format of the cell instead. Simply do that by copying the cell the normal way. You can do this by clicking on it and pressing Ctrl + C.

After that, make a selection of where you want to copy the dropdown list into and right-click those cells. Go to Paste special and select Paste data validation only.

Doing this will allow you to copy-paste the dropdown lists as completely blank cells. If that’s too much for you, then you can always just highlight the copy-pasted cells with the “To Order” entry and click on the Delete key from your keyboard.

Deleting or Editing a Dropdown List

You can do this by highlighting the dropdown cells and right-clicking your selection. From there, scroll down and click on Data validation

That should open the Data validation window. Once you’re there, you can simply edit your elements easily or completely remove the dropdown list by clicking on Remove validation.


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