How To Add A Dropdown Menu In Excel

Excel spreadsheets (.xls)

A few weeks ago, we had presented a good way to build a mortgage calculator in excel. We received a lot of positive feedback and suggestions which we always appreciate. One of those was that we could have used a dropdown menu instead of having users type the payment frequency. I agree 100%. Why?

-Dropdown menu would diminish the time required to fill out the form
-More Importantly: A dropdown menu would help us avoid typos by those filling out the form.

There is no good argument to not use a dropdown menu except for not knowing how to do it. I decided to write a quick post to go over how to add a dropdown menu in excel. It’s a lot easier than you could imagine. If you remember, this was the form that was currently in the spreadsheet:

What I would like to do is simply avoid having to type “bi-weekly”. How? There are a few different ways to do it. The first question you should ask yourself is:

-Do I want to define the possible answers?

The answer is yes in this case (it usually is) as I want to only 4 give 4 options for the menu. How do I proceed? First off, anywhere in the spreadsheet, I should write down the 4 possible choices, in the cells next to each other. Here is what I will do:

You could put this on another sheet, hide those rows or change the color, it’s not important for the user to see them. Then, I will create the dropdown menu. In excel 2003, I will select the cell where I want it and select “data/validation”:

Then, in the “settings” tab, simply select “source” and choose the possibilities. In my case, I select the 4 cells:

Then I click ok and you can see the result:

That’s it? Looks easy? It actually is. You can download our new improved spreadsheet with the dropdown menu here


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