Create an in-cell dropdown list

Create drop-down lists in a cell with Google Sheets.

Create a dropdown list

  1. In Google Sheets, open a spreadsheet.
  2. Select the cell or cells where you want to create a dropdown list.
  3. Select an option:
    • Enter “@.” In the Menu, under the components section, click “Dropdowns."
    • At the top, click Insert  and then Dropdown.
    • Click Data and then Data validation and then Add rule .
    • Right click on a cell and then Dropdown.
  4. On the Data validation rules panel, under "Criteria," select an option:
    • Dropdown from a range: Choose the cells to include in the list.
    • Dropdown: Enter the dropdown value.
      • Click Add another item to add additional dropdown values.
  5. Optional: If you enter data in a cell that doesn’t match an item on the list, it is rejected. If you want people to be able to enter items not from the list:
    1. Click Advanced options.
    2. Under "If the data is invalid:," select Show a warning.
  6. Click Done.

Create a dropdown list on cells with existing data

  1. In Google Sheets, open a spreadsheet.
  2. Select the cell or cells with existing data.
  3. Right-click and then Dropdown.
    1. If a selected cell includes an existing dropdown, other cell values are appended to the selected dropdown list rule.
    2. Dropdown options are created in the order of ranges that are selected. The order of options goes down columns first, then across rows.
    3. Optional: To add more dropdown values: 
      1. Go to the Data validation rules panel.
      2. Under "Criteria," click Add another item.
  4. Optional: If you enter data in a cell that doesn’t match an item on the list, it is rejected. If you want people to be able to enter items not from the list:
    1. Click Advanced options.
    2. Under "If the data is invalid:," select Show a warning.
  5. Click Done.

Change or delete a dropdown list

Important: If you delete a value with an assigned color from the criteria source range when the dropdown is populated from a range, the value and color will still appear under criteria, but as uneditable. To remove the value from the list, change the source range or any other item’s color.

  1. In Google Sheets, open a spreadsheet.
  2. Select the cell or cells you want to change, then select an option:
    • Click Data and then Data validation.
    • Click the dropdown and then Edit button .
  3. Edit the dropdown list:
    • To change the options listed, edit the items under "Criteria."
    • To delete a list, select an option:
      • Click Remove Rule.
      • If cells are empty, select the cells. Then, press the Backspace key.
      • If cells are empty, select the cells. Then, click Edit and then Delete and then Values.
    • To change the display style: Click Advanced options. Then, under "Display Style," select either:
      • Chip
      • Arrow
      • Plain text
  4. Click Done. If you change the content of the range you select, the changes are made in the list automatically.
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