Create drop down lookup lists in Excel 2007

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Ever wanted the users of your spreadsheets to fill in cells using only a certain number of options.  Say you had a list of States… maybe numbers from your General Ledger… or Product Categories.  Wouldn’t it be fantastic, instead of making people remember the correct names (and spelling) of each… that we could just give them a nice little list of options to pick from to populate the cell?

Well in Excel 2007, that is really easy!  Here is how to go about it.

Using Data Validation to create look up lists in Excel 2007

There are two ways to go about this… the simple way, if you only have a few options… or the less simple way 🙂


The Simple Way 

1) Click on the cell you want the look up / drop down list to appear in

2) Go to the “Data” tab in the Excel 2007 ribbon

3) Look for the “Data Tools” group

4) Click on “Data Validation”

5) In the box that appears, on the “Settings” tab, set the Validation criteria to allow “List”

6) In the “Source” text box, type in the options you want to make available (and remember to separate them with a comma!)

7) Click ok

8) Check out how unreal your drop down box in Excel 2007 looks!  And go tell your friends how easy it was!!!!


The Less Simple Way

I call this less simple simply because it is still pretty simple.  This method is best if you will have a long list of options that might already exist in your spreadsheet, or a list that you would want to regularly update.

Basically all you need to do is follow “The Simple Way”, and when you get to step 6, instead of typing in the options you want to make available, simply select the cells in your spreadsheet that contain the values.

So there you have it – drop down boxes… look up lists… whatever you call them… made easy in Excel 2007.

’till next time!

13 thoughts on “Create drop down lookup lists in Excel 2007

  1. Can you have the drop-down show a word, but once that word is selected, have the cell populate a number (that would obviously have to be linked somehow to the word)?

  2. Hi.
    Can I create a list which will automatically populate a corresponding cell from a data table?
    I.E. I have a list of customers paying by either cash on the day or invoice. When I select the client (in column A), I would like Excel to automatically populate the cell (in column B) from a linked table whether the client pays cash or invoice??????? Thanks! 🙂

  3. Thanks for the above tip. I’d always used drop-down lists in Access but never tried them in Excel. 2 queries, though:

    1. Can I have a list residing in an external spreadsheet?
    2. if the list contains 2 fields (eg product code & product description) can the drop-down list populate 2 separate (non-adjoining) fields in my spreadsheet?

    Many thanks in anticipation.

  4. Is there any way to select/highlight a word in Word 2007 and when you right click it, it gives you an option to search that word in google? or outlook 2007? both? I need that.

  5. Thanks – first way worked fine for me. It was better because it enabled me to enter choices that had not yet been used on the worksheet.

  6. I created a drop down list from a set of pre-exisitng cells and used the “Format Painter” to copy the format down to hundreds of cells where there were existing values.

    I need to make a change to my list and for all the cells to reflect the change. Is this possible?
    Can I force them to update?

  7. I have a drop down box but cannot find the list to make changes? How do I find the list?

  8. Hi,
    That’s a good one.
    Can any one help me to select a table of 8rows and 4 columns using drop down menu?

    I mean if a select a name from a drop down menu, I should get the table of content in that name???

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