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Create an in-cell dropdown list

You can create dropdown lists in individual cells using the data validation tool in Google Sheets. There are two options for in-cell dropdown lists: validation against a range and custom lists.

Follow these steps to create an in-cell dropdown list based on a range of cells or a list:

  1. Select the cell or cells in which you'd like to create a dropdown list.
  2. Click Data Validation.
  3. In the dropdown menu next to "Criteria," select either List from a range or List of items.
    • If you selected "List from a range," select a range of cells containing the values that will populate the list. If you change the contents of the range you've selected, the changes will be reflected in the list contained in the validated cell.
    • If you selected "From a list," enter a set of custom values, separated by commas. For example, you could enter "peaches,plums,apricots,cherries." (Note: Don't use spaces after commas.)
  4. By default, the cells you selected will contain an arrow button which, when clicked, will display the dropdown list. If you don't want the cells to display the arrow button, uncheck the checkbox that says "Display in-cell button to show list.”
  5. Click Save. The cells you chose to validate will now display a dropdown list with permitted values whenever a user edits the cell.

By default, people are allowed to enter data in a cell that doesn’t match one of the items on the list. If they do, they’ll see a warning. If you want to be more strict and allow people only to enter information from the list, choose "Reject input" next to the "On invalid data" option.

Mary is a Docs & Drive expert and author of this help page. Leave her feedback below about the page.

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