Spreadsheets are incredibly useful tools. From plain data collection and processing to organizing trips with friends or family. Sometimes, you may be using a set of variables over and over in a spreadsheet, or you want to give others an option of a set of options. For example, if you are organizing a potluck party and want people to input what type of food they are bringing (main dish, side dish, salad, desert, soup, bread, etc), you can limit what someone can input with a dropdown menu.
It’s now easy to make dropdown menus in Google spreadsheets in Google docs. Google just announced this option, and rightfully mentions one big advantage of dropdown menus in spreadsheets: it can cut down on typing errors that can in turn cause processing errors. For a potluck this may not be such a huge deal, but in more serious data set or larger data sets this can seriously cut back on headaches.
Here are the steps to create an in-cell dropdown list through validation against a range of data:
- Select a range of cell your want to set up with a dropdown menu function.
- Under the Tools menu, select Data validation.
- Change the Criteria to ‘Items from a list.’
- Click the button next to the ‘Enter list items’ option.
- Enter a set of custom values, separated by commas. For example, you could enter “Main course, side dish, salad, desert” in the pot-luck example.
- Click Save and the cell(s) you selected will have a dropdown list with the values you entered. If you selected more than one cell, all of them will have the dropdown option.
If you selected only one cell, only that cell has the dropdown menu, however when you copy and paste that same cell the cell in the pasted location also has the dropdown menu.