How to Remove Drop Down Arrow in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

Removing the drop-down arrow in Excel is a simple task that can be done in just a few steps. This arrow is part of the data validation feature, which allows you to create a drop-down list of options in a cell. However, sometimes you may want to remove this arrow to clean up the look of your spreadsheet. After reading this brief overview, you’ll know exactly how to accomplish this task.

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Remove Drop Down Arrow in Excel

Before we dive into the steps, let’s understand what we’re about to do. Removing the drop-down arrow will not delete the data validation list; it will simply hide the arrow from view. This can be useful if you want to prevent further changes or just want a cleaner spreadsheet.

Step 1: Select the Cell with the Drop Down Arrow

Click on the cell that contains the drop-down arrow you want to remove.

Selecting the correct cell is crucial because the changes you make will only apply to the cell you’ve selected. If you want to remove arrows from multiple cells, you’ll need to select all of them.

Step 2: Go to the Data Tab

Navigate to the ‘Data’ tab on the Excel ribbon.

This tab contains all the tools you need for working with data in Excel, including the data validation feature that we’re going to adjust.

Step 3: Click on Data Validation

In the ‘Data’ tab, click on the ‘Data Validation’ button.

This will open the data validation settings for the selected cell. From here, you can modify various aspects of your data validation rules.

Step 4: Open the Data Validation Settings

In the data validation dialog box, click on the ‘Settings’ tab if it’s not already selected.

The Settings tab is where you’ll find the options to control the input and appearance of your data validation list.

Step 5: Uncheck ‘In-cell Dropdown’

In the settings tab, you’ll see a checkbox labeled ‘In-cell dropdown’. Uncheck this box.

By unchecking this option, you’re instructing Excel to hide the drop-down arrow. The data validation list will still function, but the arrow will no longer be visible.

After you’ve completed these steps, the drop-down arrow in the selected cell will be gone. The cell will still have data validation applied to it, but it will look like a regular cell. This means that users can still enter values from the list, they just won’t see the arrow indicating a drop-down list.

Tips: How to Remove Drop Down Arrow in Excel

  • Always make sure you’re selecting the correct cell or range of cells before modifying data validation settings.
  • Removing the drop-down arrow doesn’t affect the functionality of the data validation list—it’s purely a visual change.
  • If you want to completely remove data validation from a cell, you can do so by choosing ‘Clear All’ in the data validation dialog box.
  • You can use the ‘Go To Special’ feature in Excel to quickly select all cells with data validation applied.
  • To prevent users from entering invalid data, consider combining the removal of the drop-down arrow with other data validation restrictions, such as input messages and error alerts.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I re-enable the drop-down arrow after removing it?

To re-enable the drop-down arrow, follow the same steps as above, but in the final step, check the ‘In-cell dropdown’ option instead of unchecking it.

Can I remove the drop-down arrow from multiple cells at once?

Yes, you can select multiple cells, rows, or columns before opening the data validation dialog box, and the changes you make will apply to all selected cells.

Will removing the drop-down arrow affect data already entered in the cell?

No, removing the drop-down arrow will not affect any data already entered into the cell. It will simply hide the arrow from view.

Can I still use the data validation list without the drop-down arrow?

Yes, the data validation list will still function. Users can type values directly into the cell, and Excel will still validate them against the list.

Is it possible to hide the drop-down arrow using a keyboard shortcut?

There is no direct keyboard shortcut to hide the drop-down arrow, but you can use keyboard shortcuts to navigate to the data validation dialog box more quickly (Alt + A + V + V for Windows).


  1. Select the cell with the drop-down arrow.
  2. Go to the ‘Data’ tab.
  3. Click on ‘Data Validation’.
  4. Open the ‘Settings’ tab in the data validation dialog box.
  5. Uncheck ‘In-cell Dropdown’.


Excel is a powerful tool, and its data validation feature allows users to create dynamic spreadsheets with drop-down lists. However, there are times when you might want to remove the drop-down arrow to streamline the look of your workbook or prevent further changes. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can easily hide the drop-down arrow while maintaining the functionality of your data validation list. Remember, this change is purely cosmetic and does not affect the underlying data or validation rules.

Whether you’re cleaning up your spreadsheet for a presentation or preparing a template for others to use, knowing how to remove drop down arrow in excel is a useful trick to have up your sleeve. Keep playing around with Excel’s features, and you’ll soon become an expert at customizing your spreadsheets to your exact needs. Happy Excel-ing!

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