How to Use Google Sheets

How to Create a Google Sheets Drop Down

Create an in-cell dropdown list with Google Sheets
Save for later
Save for later
Table of Contents
Like this guide? Save it and create your own!
Save for later
Save for later

Keep your data organized with an in-cell dropdown list. A Google sheets dropdown menu helps you categorize values in your spreadsheet by number, topic or relevance. This easy feature helps teams conduct analysis and prioritize data through "Data Validation."

What is a Google Sheets drop down?

A dropdown menu is a feature in Google Sheets and excel that lets you label your data to match certain attributes. This might based on project status, priority or topic category. It's a simple way to organize and easily filter your information.

How to create a drop down list in Google Sheets

1. Open your Google Sheet.

Your sheet will be in the Google Drive or your company knowledge base. To create a new sheet, use the keyboard shortcut in your Google search bar.

2. Click "Data."

Click "Data" on your menu bar at the top of your screen.

3.  Select "Data Validation."

Adding the drop down to Google Sheets requires adding a Data Validation. (Alternatively, you can click "Insert" and then click "Drop down.")

4. Select the cells.

Click in the "Cell Range" field to select the cells you'd like to add your dropdown list to.

5. Highlight the cells and click "OK."

Confirm the data range on your screen before confirming.

6. Select your criteria. Then click "Save"

Google gives a few options on how to select your list for your drop down — click "Criteria" and select what you want.

How to create a dropdown list using the "List of Items" function

1. Select "List of Items."

After completing the steps above, select the "List of Items" option.

2. Enter the items.

These are the terms you want to add the drop down, separated by a comma. For example, if you want to capture the stages of project management, you might add "Not Started, In Progress, In Review, and Complete"

3. Validate the rest of your data.

If you want to require that someone selects an item from your list, select "Reject input." If you'd like the list to be more of a suggestion and allow them to still add their own items, select "Show warning."

4. Click "Save."

This will create your dropdown!

How to create a drop down list in cells with existing data

Have you already filled out your sheet with data? Create a drop down menu with your existing data in easy steps.

1. Navigate to your spreadsheet

Your sheet will be in the Google Drive or your internal wiki.

2. Highlight the cell(s) you would like to convert into a dropdown list.

These are cells in a column or row with existing data that you'd like to turn into a dropdown menu. Make sure to drag your mouse across all rows or columns with relevant data for your drop down.

3. Right click on the selected cells.

This will pull up a menu with more options.

4. Select "Dropdown."

The dropdown option is near the bottom of the pop-up menu.

5. Click "Done."

Make any changes to the data that you'd like, then select done to create the dropdown list.

How to edit a dropdown list in Google Sheets

This step starts after you select "Drop down" from your list of options.

1. Complete all of the steps above. Then go to "Dropdown."

Complete steps 1-5 under "How to create a dropdown list." Then hover over "dropdown."

2. Edit your dropdown color or values.

On the righthand side of your sheet, update the color of your selected values and make any changes as needed. (You can also add colors to the values before you right click the cells).

3. For further edits, click "Advanced Options."

This will take you to more specific options that you can vary depending on the dropdown and data.

4. Make your selections.

Advanced Options include:

  • Select "Reject input," if you want to require someone to select from your list.
  • Select a display style for your drop down (chip, arrow or plain text — as seen in the screenshot below).

How to remove a drop down list in Google Sheets

1. Highlight the dropdown list.

Highlight a cell or cells that have the drop down item.

2. Right click on the cell(s)

This will pull up the menu option. Select "dropdown."

3. Select "Remove Rule."

This will appear on the righthand side of your screen.

Get more Google Sheets guides and make your own

Scribe has thousands of guides for Google Sheets, Excel and so much more. Sign up for a free account to save and share this guide with your team.

Scribe is an AI-powered process documentation tool that turns any workflow into a visual step-by-step guide — complete with text, links and annotated screenshots. Build guides for your colleagues and clients in seconds. All for free!

Like this guide? Check out these related resources

Save this guide and share with your team!