How to Create a Drop Down List on Google Sheets

Google Sheets, work almost in the same ways as MS Excel. With a few major differences in both the programs, you can easily use either of the two to make your database for anything. Making a drop down list might seem a bit difficult to you, but if you follow the steps as given in the article, you can easily do it without much guidance.

Opening Google Sheets

  1. Sign in to your Gmail account and locate the settings grid to open Google Docs.
    Sign in to your Gmail account click on the settings Grid
    Google Docs is for all the documents that you want to make, including Google Sheets
  2. Click on ‘Docs’ , as highlighted in the previous picture. Clicking on Docs will lead you to another page where you will find options and templates to make a new document.
    Main menu on the left

    Since you need to make a drop down list in Google Sheets, you need to open Google Sheets now will be an option on the left hand side of this page once you click the three lines in the left corner which is the main menu, as shown in the picture below.

    Click on Main Menu and then on Sheets
  3. From the options that appear, click on Sheets .It has a green colored icon.
    The Green Icon
  4. Once you click on ‘Sheets’, you will be directed to another page which will give you options to make a new spread sheet or to use the templates given. It will also show you a list of your previous work right below.
    Your template options for Google Sheets
  5. Choose either a template, or go for a blank one. I will be choosing a blank document.

Making a Drop-Down List on Google Sheets

This is how a Google Spread sheet looks like.

Your spreadsheet

To make a drop down list on Google Sheets, you need to:

  1. Click on the cell which you want to select and create a drop-down list on. It can be one cell, or more than one cells.
    The blue lines around the first cell shows that I have selected it. You can expand this selection by clicking the cursor on the right below corner and expanding it to the cells which you want to select. For a simple example, let’s select one cell at a time.

    select a cell or a number of cells
  2. Once you have made the selection of a cell, right click your mouse on the selected cell. You will be shown several of options.
    Locate Data Validation
  3. You have to click on ‘Data Validation’ here which is right at the end of the list.
    There is another way to access ‘Data Validation’. Instead of clicking the right button of the mouse on the selected cell, you can simply select the cell and click on the option for ‘Data’ on the toolbar showing right at the top of the spread sheet. Under ‘Data’, you will find ‘Data Validation’.

    Another way to access Data Validation
  4. Data Validation will show you these options.
    Types of data entries and lists that you can make

    You need to select the type of drop down list that you want which is where the word ‘Criteria’ is written. You can choose what kind of a drop down list it is that you want to create. I am going to select ‘list of items’ for this example as I want to show how to make a drop down list.

    List of items or list from a range will display drop down lists
    Choose the one that fits your work theme the best

    Selecting a different criteria will bring you more options where you will have to fill the kind of drop down list that you want. For instance, selecting ‘List of items’ gave me an empty space to add the list of things that I want a drop down list for. And to separate these things with each other, I need to add a comma. As shown in the picture below.

    Add the details

    If you want to show the arrow button on your cell, you have to select the option for ‘Show drop down list in cell’.

    Check this option if you want the drop down arrow to show
  5. Save the edits that you just made.
    This is how your sheet will look now
  6. You list has been created. Every time you bring your cursor on a cell that has been formatted accordingly, and click on the downward facing arrow, a box of options will appear to inform the user that these are the options they can choose from.
    Clicking on the arrows in the cell will show you the list
  7. Adding an invalid input will show an alert at the corner of the cell, saying that the input is invalid.
    invalid entry
    alert for invalid entry with a color appearing in the right corner of the cell.
  8. If you don’t want the arrow for options in the cell to show, un-check the option under Data Validation for ‘Show drop down list in cell’.
Habiba Rehman
Major love for reading, but writing is what keeps me going. Dream to publish my own novels someday.