How to Add Drop Down List in Google Sheets

Learn how to add, copy, and remove a dropdown list in Google Sheets. Learn how you can apply basic formatting to dropdown Google Sheets such as alphabetizing and color coding. Also restrict input to the listed options in the dropdown list.

8 Minutes

How to Add Dropdown List from a range of Cells

Step 1: Select the target cells

Select the cells where you want to add a dropdown list.

Selecting Cells GIF

Step 2: Select Data validation from the Data menu on the toolbar. 

Click Data from the main toolbar, then select Data validation from the list.

Finding Data validation GIF

Step 3: Set to load the list of items from a range

On the right of the Criteria label is a drop-down box where we can select where to get the list of items for the drop-down box. By default, List from a range is selected, which is the option we need. 

List from a range option

Click the Range icon on the textbox beside it. 

Range icon circled

Step 4: Select the range with the options for your dropdown menu, then click OK. 

Select data range dialogue box

Click Save. 

Adding options from a range GIF

You have now inserted dropdown lists to the selected cells!

Dropdown lists inserted

How to add dropdown in Google Sheets by manually inputting options

You can add Dropdown in google sheets without having to store the menu options anywhere in your spreadsheet. You can instead add the dropdown options manually. Here are the steps:

Step 1: Select the target cells

Select the cells where you want to add a dropdown list.

Seleceting Cells GIF

Step 2: Select Data validation from the Data tab on the main toolbar.

Click Data from the main toolbar, then select Data validation from the list.

Finding Data validation GIF
Data->Data validation

Step 3: In the criteria dropdown box, select the List of items option.

On the right of the Criteria label is a drop-down box where we can select where to get the list of items for the drop-down box. Click it and select List of items

List of options selected

Step 4: Manually input your dropdown menu options.

Start typing the items in the textbox beside it. Separate each item with a comma. 

Step 5: Click Save.

After adding all of your options, click Save. 

After adding options for the drop down, click save

You have now inserted dropdown lists to the selected cells!

Drop down lists inserted
Working drop down menu

How to Copy Google Sheets Dropdown Menu

To copy the dropdown from one cell to another, simply copy the cell containing it and then paste it to the target cell. 

Copying and pasting drop down menu to another cell GIF

If you want to extend the dropdown menu down the same column, you can click the last cell with the dropdown menu, click its lower-right corner square, and then drag it down the column. 

Extending drop down menu to more cells

How to Remove Google Sheets Dropdown Menu

Simply pressing Delete on your keyboard will remove the selected option on the cell but will not remove the dropdown menu. Here are the steps to remove a dropdown menu from a range of cells: 

Step 1: Select the cells

Select the cells where you want to remove the dropdown menu. 

Select cells containing drop down menus

Step 2: Open Data validation from the Data tab of the main toolbar.

Click Data on the main menu, then select Data validation from the drop-down menu.

Data->Data validation

Step 3: Click Remove validation.

Remove validation button

You can check the screencap below to see how it works:

Remove validation GIF

FAQs

What if I try to input an option that is not on the dropdown menu?

If you attempt to input data that is not in the dropdown list, you will get a warning:

Invalid input message

You can set the cell to reject invalid input by doing the following steps:

Step 1: Select the cells

Step 2: Open data validation from the Data tab on the main toolbar.

Step 3: Check Reject input

Reject input option

You will get this message when you input a value not listed in the dropdown box:

Error Message

How to alphabetize the drop down list?

If you input the list manually in the Data validation box, you can only manually arrange the items in the box. If the list is in a sheet, you can sort Google sheets dropdown using one of the methods in this tutorial.

How to color code a dropdown List?

You can color code a dropdown list by using conditional formatting. Click here to color code lists in Google Sheets.

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