How to Create Drop Down List in Excel with Multiple Selections

Creating a drop-down list in Excel with multiple selections is a handy tool that allows users to select more than one option from a list. This feature is especially useful when you need to categorize data or make selections that can’t be confined to just one choice. For instance, if you’re making a survey and want respondents to select all the fruits they like from a list, a multiple selection drop-down list would be the perfect solution.

Step by Step Tutorial: Creating a Drop-Down List in Excel with Multiple Selections

Before we dive into the steps, let’s clarify what we’re about to do. We’re going to create a drop-down list where users can select multiple items. This will involve setting up the list, formatting the cell, and adding a bit of VBA code to make it all work.

Step 1: Set up the list

Write out the options you want to include in your drop-down list in a column on your Excel sheet.

Having a clear list of options is crucial because it’s what your drop-down menu will pull from. Make sure each option is in a separate cell and that there are no duplicates unless necessary.

Step 2: Name the list

Select the cells with your options, go to the Formulas tab, click ‘Define Name,’ and give your list a name.

Naming your list makes it easier to reference later on in the process. It’s like giving your selections a collective identity that Excel can recognize.

Step 3: Format the cell

Select the cell where you want your drop-down list to appear, go to the Data tab, click ‘Data Validation,’ and choose ‘List’ under ‘Allow.’

This step is where you’re telling Excel, “Hey, I want a drop-down menu right here, and here’s where you can find the choices.”

Step 4: Add the list name

In the Data Validation dialogue box, under ‘Source,’ type in the name you gave your list preceded by an equal sign, and click ‘OK.’

You’re basically pointing Excel to the list you named earlier. The equal sign is Excel’s way of understanding that what follows is a reference to something else on the worksheet.

Step 5: Insert VBA code

Press ALT + F11 to open the VBA editor, insert a new module, and paste the specific code that allows multiple selections in a drop-down list.

Don’t worry; you don’t need to be a coding genius for this. There are plenty of code samples available online that you can use. Just make sure you’re copying from a reliable source.

After completing these steps, you’ll have a drop-down list where you can click on an item to select it, and then hold down the CTRL key to select additional items from the list.

Tips for Creating a Drop-Down List in Excel with Multiple Selections

  • Ensure your list of options is clean and free of errors before creating your drop-down list.
  • Give your list a unique and descriptive name to avoid confusion, especially if you’re working with multiple lists.
  • Always test your drop-down list to make sure it allows multiple selections before rolling it out for broader use.
  • Remember that while the CTRL key allows for multiple selections on a PC, Command is the equivalent on a Mac.
  • If you’re not comfortable with VBA code, consider using an Excel add-on that provides the multiple selection feature.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I create a drop-down list with multiple selections without VBA code?

No, Excel’s standard data validation feature doesn’t support multiple selections in a drop-down list. You’ll need to use VBA code to enable this functionality.

Is it possible to make a horizontal drop-down list with multiple selections?

While Excel doesn’t support horizontal drop-down lists natively, you can simulate one by placing individual drop-down lists next to each other in adjacent cells.

How do I copy a multiple selection drop-down list to other cells?

You can copy the cell containing your drop-down list and paste it into other cells. However, you’ll need to ensure the VBA code is applied to the new cells as well.

Can I limit the number of selections in a multiple selection drop-down list?

Yes, you can modify the VBA code to limit the number of selections. You will have to include a counter in the code that tracks the number of selected items.

Will the multiple selections be visible in the cell?

Yes, but they will be separated by commas within the cell. If you select too many options, they may not all display at once when the cell isn’t active.


  1. Set up the list of options in a column.
  2. Name the list using the ‘Define Name’ function.
  3. Format the cell for the drop-down list using ‘Data Validation.’
  4. Add the list name in the Data Validation dialogue box.
  5. Insert VBA code to enable multiple selections.


Now that we’ve walked through the steps, you should be equipped to add a bit of Excel magic to your spreadsheets with a drop-down list that allows for multiple selections. Remember, it’s all about setting things up correctly from the get-go and then letting a snippet of VBA code work its behind-the-scenes wonders. Once you’ve mastered this skill, you’ll find it indispensable for tasks like surveys, forms, or any project where users need to choose more than one option.

Of course, if you’re shaky on VBA, there’s no shame in seeking a little help or reaching for an add-on that simplifies the process. The important thing is to not let the technical stuff bog you down. Focus on the amazing functionality you’re bringing to your Excel sheet and how it’s going to make data gathering and categorization that much easier. And hey, if you’ve got questions or hit a snag, there’s a whole community of Excel enthusiasts out there ready to lend a hand. Happy spreadsheeting!

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