How to Create a Drop-Down List in Excel 

Need to create a drop-down list in Excel? If so, I’ll show you the steps to create a drop-down list in Excel 2016.

The example

To start, let’s review an example where you have 5 simple tasks that you wish to track:

(1) Place a purchase order to buy a computer
(2) Pay for the purchase order
(3) Delivery of order arrived
(4) Install the computer
(5) Test that the computer is operational

You can create a drop-down list to track the status of each of the above tasks.

Here is the list of statuses that you can use to track your tasks:

• Started
• Pending
• Ongoing
• Completed
• Failed

Steps to create a drop-down list in Excel

Let’s now review the steps to create a drop-down list in Excel:

(1) To begin, copy/type the tasks’ descriptions into ‘Sheet1.’ You may also add a second column (i.e., column B) to track the task status. The second column is where we will place the drop-down list

Data in Excel

(2) Now, switch to ‘Sheet2‘ where you’ll need to copy/ type the list of statuses that will be available to choose from the drop-down list.

Your Sheet2 should look like this:

Cells in Excel

(3) Return to Sheet1 and then select the B2 cell (this is the cell where you’ll initially place your drop-down list)

Next, click on the Data tab.

And finally, press on the Data Validation icon as below:

Data Validation in MS Excel

(4) You’ll now notice that the Data Validation box will appear on your screen:

How to Create a Drop-Down List in Excel

(5) Select the ‘List‘ option from the drop-down menu:

How to Create a Drop-Down List in Excel

(6) Press on the “Up” arrow in order to specify the location where the values for the drop-down list can be taken:

Create a Drop-Down List in Excel 

(7) You’ll now need to switch to Sheet2 (as your values for the drop-down list are located in that sheet):

Excel - Data Validation

(8) Once in Sheet2, select the range of cells of A1 to A5 where the values for the drop-down list are located.

Then, press the “Down” arrow:

Data Validation - Range of cells in MS Excel

(9) Finally, press OK:

How to Create a Drop-Down List in Excel 2016

(10) Your drop-down list is now available to be used in cell B2 under Sheet1.

Press on the “Down” arrow to choose your desired value from the drop-down list:

Drop-down menu in MS Excel

(11) Here are the values that you can choose from your drop list:

Drop-down list in Excel

Apply the drop-down list across additional cells

Earlier, you saw how to apply the drop-down list in cell B2.

But what if you want to apply the drop-down across additional cells?

In that case, simply drag the drop-down list across multiple cells.

To do so, simply hover on the bottom right-hand-side of cell B2, until you see the ‘+’ symbol

Then, drag-down the + symbol all the way to cell B6:

Apply the drop-down list across additional cells

Your drop-down list is now available for each of your 5 tasks. Let’s now choose some values from the list.

For the ‘Place a purchase order to buy a computer‘ task, let’s choose the option of ‘Completed‘ from the list under cell B2:

Drop-down list across additional cells

For the last task, let’s select the value of ‘Pending‘ as can be seen below:

Status in MS Excel

Here is the complete set of values chosen from the drop-down list for each of the 5 tasks:

Drop-down list - MS Excel 2016

That’s it! You may also want to check the following source for additional tutorials on MS Excel.