Data validation is one of our favorite tools in Google Spreadsheets, because it gives the Spreadsheet owner even more control over the data that’s entered. But, did you know that you can create custom drop-down menus with data validation?

This feature is very useful for controlling what collaborators can enter into cells and for allowing you to enter values very quickly, by simply typing the first character or two of a value and then pressing Enter.

The video above will guide you through the following steps. To see the sample document featured in the video, click here. You can create an editable copy by clicking ‘File’, then ‘Make a copy’.

  1. Create or open a Google Spreadsheet.
  2. Create a new worksheet and name it Values.
  3. Enter the values you want to have appear in your drop-downs.
  4. Go back to the original worksheet and highlight the cells where you’d like the drop-downs to appear.
  5. Right click and select Data Validation.
  6. Set Criteria to be “”List from a range”” and select the values you entered on the Values worksheet.
  7. Select Reject Input if you’d like to prevent any value not in your list.
  8. Enter help text if desired (optional).
  9. Click Save and return to the original worksheet.

The drop-down icons appear in the cells. You can either click the down arrow to select from the list, or you can begin typing a value in the cell.

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