How to Edit an Excel Drop Down List: A Step-by-Step Guide

Editing an Excel drop down list might seem like a daunting task, but it’s actually quite simple! All you have to do is access the Data Validation settings, make your changes, and save them. Voila! Your drop down list is updated.

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Edit an Excel Drop Down List

Before we dive into the steps, it’s important to know that editing a drop down list in Excel involves tweaking the Data Validation settings. This is where you can modify the list’s items, adjust the input messages, or change the error alerts.

Step 1: Select the cell with the drop down list you want to edit

Click on the cell that contains the drop down list you’d like to modify.

Selecting the correct cell is crucial because it’s where your drop down list lives. If you select the wrong cell, you won’t find the list you’re looking to edit.

Step 2: Go to the Data tab on the Ribbon

On the Excel ribbon at the top of the screen, click on the tab labeled ‘Data’.

The Data tab is where you’ll find all the tools you need to manage your data, including the Data Validation feature, which controls your drop down lists.

Step 3: Click on ‘Data Validation’

In the ‘Data Tools’ section, find and click on the ‘Data Validation’ button.

Clicking on ‘Data Validation’ will bring up a dialogue box that contains all the settings for your drop down list.

Step 4: Edit the items in the ‘Source’ box

In the Data Validation dialogue box, go to the ‘Settings’ tab and find the ‘Source’ box. Here, you can add, remove, or modify the items in your drop down list.

If your list is short, you can type the items directly into the ‘Source’ box, separated by commas. For longer lists, it’s best to refer to a range of cells that contain the items you want in your list.

Step 5: Click ‘OK’ to save your changes

Once you’re done editing, click the ‘OK’ button at the bottom of the Data Validation dialogue box.

Clicking ‘OK’ will close the dialogue box and apply the changes to your drop down list. If you’ve made a mistake, you can always go back and edit the list again.

After completing these steps, your drop down list will have the new items you added, and any items you removed will no longer appear. Simple, right?

Tips for Editing an Excel Drop Down List

  • When adding items to your drop down list, ensure there are no duplicates to avoid confusion.
  • If you’re using a cell range as the source for your list, make sure the cells are contiguous (no gaps between them).
  • Keep the items in your drop down list short and concise for better readability.
  • Consider sorting the items in your drop down list alphabetically for easier navigation.
  • If you have multiple drop down lists dependent on each other, remember to update them all to ensure consistency.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I link my drop down list to a range of cells in another worksheet?

Yes, your drop down list’s source can refer to a range of cells located in a different worksheet within the same workbook.

How do I delete a drop down list?

To delete a drop down list, follow the same steps to access Data Validation, but instead of editing items, click on the ‘Clear All’ button in the dialogue box.

Can I create a drop down list that allows for multiple selections?

Excel’s default drop down lists don’t support multiple selections. You’d have to use VBA code or create a workaround with checkboxes.

How do I restrict data entry to only the items in my drop down list?

In the Data Validation dialogue box, make sure the ‘In-cell dropdown’ option is checked, and set the ‘Allow’ field to ‘List’.

What if I want to add a new item to a drop down list that’s linked to a cell range?

You’ll need to add the new item to the cell range that the drop down list references. It will then automatically appear in the list.


  1. Select the cell with the drop down list.
  2. Go to the Data tab.
  3. Click on ‘Data Validation’.
  4. Edit the items in the ‘Source’ box.
  5. Click ‘OK’ to save changes.


Editing an Excel drop down list is a piece of cake once you know where to look. Whether you’re adding new options or cleaning up outdated ones, the Data Validation feature is your go-to tool. Remember, keeping your lists up-to-date not only makes your spreadsheets look professional but also ensures data accuracy and ease of use. Don’t forget to apply the tips we’ve covered to streamline the process even further. Now that you’re familiar with how to edit an Excel drop down list, go ahead and give it a try!

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