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In this video, you will add a menu of budget categories using data validation.

This enables you to specify a project area, department, or other category for each line item.

It is often up to the project manager to track and categorize costs by type of expense or budget area.

Categorizing budget items helps you quickly see if any project categories are becoming too costly so you can make adjustments.

First, insert a column into your spreadsheet between your Items list and Estimated Cost.

Then, label the column Category.

To make categorizing expenses easy and quick, use data validation to create a drop-down menu of categories to choose from right in your budget sheet.

Data validation allows only specific information to appear in cells.

This prevents typos and inconsistencies in the category names.

It also gives project collaborators an easy way to classify new expenses.

Highlight the rows in the category column down to the bottom of the line items list.

From the data menu, choose data validation.

Select List of items.

Type in category names for the items listed in your sheet...

...separating each with a comma.

The budget sheet now has a drop-down menu in each cell in the category column.

If you type other information in a cell in the category column, an error message appears.

That is the data validation at work!

Use the drop-down menu to update the category of each line item in your budget sheet.


  1. Create a list of categories.
  2. Use data validation.
  3. Create a drop-down menu of items.
  4. Use the drop-down menus to update each line item.