A drop down list is a powerful tool.
It can help you to make your data entry simple and quick.
You can use a drop down list with your dashboards, charts or even with normal data.
While using it, one thing always gave me nuts that you need to update its data source whenever you add a new entry.
The more you add data he more frequently you need to update it.
For this, the best solution is to use a dynamic drop down list in which you don’t need to update data source again and again.
But first of all, let me show you an example that why your drop down list should a be a dynamic one.
In below example, we have two different drop down lists in which we have used the same data source.
When you added a new entry into the source list, that entry is automatically updated in the second drop down list.
On the other hand, there is no change in the normal drop down list. And, if you want to update your list, you need to update your data source range.
If you are using Excel 2007 or above then you can use an excel table and in case you are still with Excel 2003, you can use a named range.
1. Using Excel Table to Create a Dynamic Drop Down List
The best method to create a dynamic drop down list is using an Excel table for source data.
Here are the simple steps to create a dynamic drop down list in Excel.
- First of all, change your normal range into a table.
- Select your list.
- Go to ➜ Insert Table ➜ Tables ➜ Table.
- Click OK.
- Now the next step is to refer to the table range data source and for this we need to use below formula.
- In the end, click OK.
Now you have a dynamic list which will update instantly when you update your source list.
Note: If you try to directly refer the table range as a source it will return an error like below.
2. Dynamic Range for a Drop Down List with OFFSET Function
If you are still using Excel 2003 or a lower version, you can use offset function to create a dynamic range and then you can use that dynamic range for creating a drop down list.
Here are the easy steps to create a drop-down list using a dynamic range.
- Go to Formulas ➜ Defined Names ➜ Name Manager ➜ Click New.
- In name input box enter a name for named range (Here I am using “monthList2003”).
- Enter below formula in “Refers To” and click OK.
- Now you have a dynamic range "monthList2003" and you can use this range name to create a dynamic drop-down list.
How does this work
The formula which we have used to create a dynamic range will count the values from the list and expand the source range accordingly. This will make your drop down list dynamic.
Using a dynamic drop down list is a big time saver. And, the best part is, it’s a one-time setup, you don’t need to apply it again and again.
If you need to add new entries in you source list continually, you must have to use a dynamic drop down list.
I hope this tip will help you to get better in Excel but now you need to tell me one thing.
Have you ever used a dynamic drop down in Excel?
Please share your views with me in the comment section, I'd love hear from you and make sure to share this tip with your friends.
About the Author
Puneet is using Excel since his college days. He helped thousands of people to understand the power of the spreadsheets and learn Microsoft Excel. You can ﬁnd him online, tweeting about Excel, on a running track, or sometimes hiking up a mountain.