Increase Excel data entry accuracy with drop-down lists

One way to reduce user error is by giving them the option to select data from lists rather than having them type it in manually. Find out how adding drop-down lists can help you ensure data entry accuracy.

Giving users the option to select data from lists rather than type it manually can help eliminate many data entry errors. But you don't need to create the actual lists to ensure accuracy.

After users enter an item once, Microsoft Excel automatically includes it in a drop-down list of entries that users previously typed in the column.

For example, to access the list of vendors previously typed in the Vendors column of an Orders spreadsheet, follow these steps:

  1. Select the cell under the Vendors column for the next order.
  2. Press [Alt] and the down arrow.
  3. Select the vendor's name from the list, and press [Enter] or [Tab] to move to the next cell.

If the vendor's name is not on the list, users must type it manually. Excel will include the name the next time someone accesses the list.

Help users increase productivity by automatically signing up for TechRepublic's free Microsoft Office Suite newsletter, featuring Word, Excel, and Access tips, delivered each Wednesday.

Editor's Picks

Free Newsletters, In your Inbox