How to Create Drop-down Menus in Microsoft Excel

Creating drop-down lists and other functions in MS Excel

About Drop-down Menus

Drop-down menus are graphical control elements, much like a word bank, that allows the user to select one item from a list. Drop-down lists come in handy when there is a finite number of possible values (either number or text). Using drop-down lists promotes higher productivity and accuracy.
Other names for the drop-down list include drop down, pull-down menu, pull-down list, drop menu, drop-down menu, and drop down menu.

Prep Work

First draft a list of valid entries on a sheet. Rearrange the entries to the desired order that they should appear. That will serve as the source for the drop-down list of data. I choose Yerkes luminosity star classes.

Getting Started

1.  Open Excel.
2.  Select a cell that will be the Header for your drop-down list. I chose B2. Then, type in the Header for your drop-down list. My Header is Star Types.
Drop-down menu-1

Header cell

3.  In the cells below your Header, type each entry into a cell in a single column. No empty cells.
Drop-down menu-

Header cell and list items.

4.  Select Data from the menu bar.
Drop-down menu-

Select Data

5.  Choose Data Validate.
Drop-down menu-

Choose Data Validation

6.  Choose the Settings tab.
Drop-down menu-

Select the “Setting” button.

7.  Then, in the Allow pop-up menu, choose List.
Drop-down menu-

Choose “list”.

8.  Click in the Source field. While holding down the Shift Key, click on the first item of your list, followed by the last item in your list. Notice the entire list outlined in green, and the range automatically entered into the Source field. Click OK.
Drop-down menu-

Select all list items

9.  Now, when someone clicks into that field, an Expansion button appears.
Drop-down menu-

Select the cell you chose for the drop-down menu.

10.  Click on the Expansion button and the drop-down list appears.

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