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

Removing a drop-down list in Excel is a simple task that can be done in just a few clicks. All you need to do is select the cell or range of cells that contain the drop-down list, go to the Data tab, click on the Data Validation button, and then clear the settings. This will effectively remove the drop-down list from your Excel worksheet.

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

Before you dive into removing a drop-down list, it’s important to understand why you might want to do this. Maybe the list is no longer relevant, or perhaps you want to replace it with a different set of options. Whatever the reason, the following steps will help you get rid of that unwanted drop-down list in no time.

Step 1: Select the cell with the drop-down list

The first thing you need to do is click on the cell that has the drop-down list you want to remove.

Once you’ve selected the cell, you’ll notice that when you click on it, a small arrow appears on the right side of the cell. This indicates that the cell contains a drop-down list.

Step 2: Click on the Data tab

Next, navigate to the Data tab on the Excel ribbon, which is located at the top of the Excel window.

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

Step 3: Click on Data Validation

Within the Data tab, you’ll see a button labeled ‘Data Validation.’ Click on it to open the Data Validation dialog box.

The Data Validation button may be located in different spots within the Data tab depending on your version of Excel, but it should be easy to find.

Step 4: Clear the settings

In the Data Validation dialog box, click on the ‘Clear All’ button to remove the drop-down list.

By clicking ‘Clear All’, you’re telling Excel to remove all validation rules from the selected cell, including the drop-down list.

Step 5: Click OK to finish

Finally, click the ‘OK’ button to close the dialog box and apply the changes.

Once you click ‘OK’, the drop-down list will be removed, and the cell will return to normal, allowing you to input any data you like.

After you complete the action of removing the drop-down list, the cell will no longer have any restrictions on what can be entered. You’ll be able to type in any value, just like any other regular cell in Excel.

Tips: Optimizing Your Excel Experience

  • Always make sure to select the correct cell or range of cells before removing the drop-down list to avoid accidentally deleting something important.
  • If you only want to modify the options in the drop-down list rather than remove it, you can do so in the Data Validation dialog box under the ‘Settings’ tab.
  • Remember to save your workbook after making changes to ensure you don’t lose any important data.
  • Utilize the ‘Undo’ feature (Ctrl + Z) if you remove a drop-down list by mistake and want to bring it back.
  • Familiarize yourself with Excel’s Data Validation feature, as it can be a powerful tool for controlling the input of data into your worksheets.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I remove multiple drop-down lists at once?

Yes, you can select a range of cells that contain drop-down lists and follow the same steps to remove them all at once.

Will removing a drop-down list delete the data in the cell?

No, removing a drop-down list will not delete any existing data in the cell. It will only remove the list itself.

Can I remove a drop-down list from a protected worksheet?

You will need to unprotect the worksheet first before you can remove a drop-down list from a cell.

What happens if I can’t find the Data Validation button?

If you can’t find the Data Validation button, it’s possible that you’re using a different version of Excel, or your ribbon has been customized. Try right-clicking on the cell and looking for Data Validation in the context menu.

Can I restore a drop-down list after I’ve removed it?

If you haven’t closed or saved the Excel file, you can use the Undo feature to restore the drop-down list. Otherwise, you will need to recreate it from scratch.


  1. Select the cell with the drop-down list
  2. Click on the Data tab
  3. Click on Data Validation
  4. Clear the settings
  5. Click OK to finish


Removing a drop-down list in Excel might sound like a task reserved for the pros, but, as you’ve seen, it’s something anyone can do with a few easy steps. Whether you’re tidying up an old spreadsheet or making room for new data, getting rid of an unwanted drop-down list is a breeze. With the help of the Data Validation tool, you have full control over your data and how it’s entered into your workbook. So go ahead, give it a try, and see how Excel can work for you in ways you never imagined. Remember, Excel is a powerful tool, and knowing how to manipulate it to fit your needs is a skill that will always come in handy.

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