Excel: How to create simple and dependent drop-down lists

Drop-down lists in Microsoft Excel (and Word and Access) allow you to create a list of valid choices that you or others can select for a given field. This is especially useful for fields that require specific information; fields that have long or complex data that’s hard to spell; or fields where you want to control the responses.

Creating dependent drop-down lists (when combined with an INDIRECT function) is another benefit. This allows you to select a product category from the main menu drop-down list box (such as Beverages), then display all the related products from the submenu (dependent) drop-down list box (such as Apple Juice, Coffee, etc.). This works very well for ordering and inventory purposes because it divides all the products into manageable categories. This is how most wholesale and retail companies handle their product lines. In fact, companies from hospitals and insurance carriers to banks and more use drop-down lists, check boxes, combo lists, and/or radio buttons to minimize typing and user errors.

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