Guide on Creating Dropdown Lists in Google Sheets

This article will guide you on how to create dropdown lists in Google Sheets and, from that dropdown list, populate additional options. This basic operation can significantly enhance your work efficiency.

Detailed Guide on Creating Dropdowns in Google Sheets and Establishing Dependent Dropdown Lists

How to create dropdowns and establish dependent dropdown lists in Google Sheets:

  1. Select the cells with names (A2:A11).
  2. Go to DATA, choose NAMED RANGES.

In the NAMED RANGES table, enter a name for your range. Note that this name needs to be identical to the main category, in this case, it will be “Name” (no spaces).

Click DONE. Now, you have created the first range with the name “Name,” meaning the cells are named “Name.”

Now, you do the same for the “Date” column. You need to create multiple named ranges for various options you want to display in the first dropdown list.


In the DATA VALIDATION dialog box, choose CRITERIA as LIST FROM A RANGE and specify the cells containing the names (Name/Date).

Ensure “Show list of items in cell” is checked and click Save.

This will create a drop-down list in cell A15.

3 important notes when creating dropdown lists in Google Sheets:

  1. Series names can only be a single word. If there are multiple words, use underscores to connect them when creating the NAMED RANGE. For example, if the category is “Seasonal Fruits,” name it Seasonal_Fruits. When creating an indirect formula just below the list, it might be better to create it in another spreadsheet. Then, you can hide the spreadsheet if necessary.
  2. When you select a category and an item within it, for instance, choosing Fruits and then selecting Mango, then you change the Vegetable category, the dependent dropdown list won’t change. This means that the Option List 1 might have fruits as a category, and Option List 2 may have vegetable names in it. However, creating a list in Google Sheets will alert you with a small red triangle icon in the cell. If you hover over the cell, you will see the warning below:
  3. Therefore, with the guided method of creating options in Google Sheets, you can create a conditional dropdown list in Google Sheets where the options depend on the selection of another cell.

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