How to Create Drop Down List in Excel 2019: Step-by-Step Guide

Creating a drop-down list in Excel 2019 is a handy tool for data entry that limits the values that can be entered into a cell to a pre-defined list. It’s great for enhancing data integrity and saving time. It’s quite simple: start by selecting the cell where you want the list, head over to the Data tab, and choose ‘Data Validation’ from the ‘Data Tools’ group. From here, you can create your list and customize it to meet your needs.

Step by Step Tutorial to Create Drop Down List in Excel 2019

Before diving into the steps, understand that making a drop-down list helps to control the data input by others, ensuring consistency and accuracy. It’s like setting the rules for what can be entered into your Excel spreadsheet.

Step 1: Select the cell where you want your list

Click on the cell in which you want to create the drop-down list.

Step 2: Go to the Data tab

Find and click the Data tab on the Excel ribbon at the top of the page.

Step 3: Click on ‘Data Validation’

In the ‘Data Tools’ group, click on ‘Data Validation’.

Step 4: Choose ‘List’ in the ‘Allow’ box

In the ‘Data Validation’ dialog box, click the ‘Allow’ box and select ‘List’.

Step 5: Enter the data for your list

In the ‘Source’ box, type in the items for your list, separated by commas, or select a range of cells where the items are already listed.

Step 6: Customize optional settings

Set up optional features such as input messages or error alerts.

Step 7: Click ‘OK’

Once you have finished setting up your list and its options, click ‘OK’ to apply the drop-down list to the selected cell.

After completing these steps, the selected cell will have a drop-down arrow on the right side. When you click on it, you’ll see the list of items you’ve entered. You or others can then select from the list rather than typing, making data entry faster and less prone to error.

Tips for Creating Drop Down List in Excel 2019

  • Keep your list items short and clear to make selections easy.
  • Use named ranges for your list data to make it easier to manage.
  • If your list is long, consider sorting it alphabetically or logically.
  • Remember to update your drop-down list if the source data changes.
  • Protect your worksheet to prevent users from editing the list.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I create a drop-down list that pulls data from another worksheet?

Yes, you can reference a range of cells from a different worksheet as the source for your drop-down list.

Is there a limit to the number of items I can have in my drop-down list?

Excel allows up to 32,767 entries in a drop-down list.

How can I make a drop-down list mandatory for users?

You can set an error alert in the ‘Data Validation’ settings that prompt users to make a selection from the drop-down list before moving on.

Can I edit a drop-down list after creating it?

Yes, you can edit the list by going back into ‘Data Validation’ and changing the source data.

Can I create a dependent drop-down list based on another list’s selection?

Certainly! This is called a cascading drop-down list, where the choices in one list depend on the selection made in another list.


  1. Select the cell for the list.
  2. Go to the Data tab.
  3. Click on ‘Data Validation’.
  4. Choose ‘List’ in the ‘Allow’ box.
  5. Enter the list data.
  6. Customize optional settings.
  7. Click ‘OK’.


Mastering the creation of a drop-down list in Excel 2019 can significantly streamline data entry and ensure consistency in your spreadsheets. Whether you’re managing a small project or a large dataset, the ability to guide users’ inputs with a pre-defined list can not only save time but also prevent potential data inaccuracies.

As you become more comfortable with Excel, you’ll find that drop-down lists are just scratching the surface of what you can do with data validation. The various customization options available let you tailor the user experience to meet the specific needs of your project or organization. From simple lists to complex cascading drop-downs, Excel provides a powerful toolkit for managing data entry.

Remember, practice makes perfect. As you use drop-down lists more frequently, you’ll discover new ways to enhance your spreadsheets, making them more user-friendly and reliable. So go ahead, give it a try, and watch as Excel’s drop-down lists transform the way you approach data entry.

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