Use Data Validation to Create a Drop-Down Menu

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In this extension, you will add Data Validation to your spreadsheet.

Use data validation to create an automated drop-down menu for your expense categories.

A drop-down menu is a tool that provides a list of options to choose from.

Typing in your data accurately is essential for a spreadsheet budget.

What happens, for example, if you accidentally misspell Entertainment as you are entering an expense?

That cost would not be added to the total cost for that category.

This error in your budget might affect your financial decisions.

A drop-down menu will ensure accuracy and help you save time categorizing your data.

To create a drop-down menu, you will apply data validation to your category column.

To begin, open your spreadsheet.

Your spreadsheet is automatically saved in Google Drive, and you can come back to it anytime.

To create a drop-down menu for your expense categories, select the range of cells in your category column.

Next, apply data validation to the selected cells.

The Criteria feature offers options for the contents of your menu, such as numbers or dates.

Because you want your menu to contain a list of your categories, select List of items.

Enter the names of the categories you’d like to appear in your drop-down menu.

Enter each category only once, separated by commas, in any order you prefer.

They will appear in this order on the menu.

Now a drop-down menu appears with the names of your categories.

As you enter new expense items, select the relevant category from the menu, rather than typing it in every time.

Add a row to your spreadsheet, and enter a new item.

Now, choose a category from the menu, and finish filling in your information.

By using the drop-down menu, you avoid spelling mistakes and save time typing.

Most importantly, you ensure that you have an accurate budget.

Now, it’s your turn.

Apply data validation to your category column to create a drop-down menu.

Choose an extension
Track More Monthly Expenses by Adding Sheets

Students add a sheet to their spreadsheet to extend their budget from month to month.

Sort Your Expense Data

Students use data sorting to reorganize their expenses.

Use Data Validation to Create a Drop-Down Menu

Students use data validation to organize their expense categories in a dropdown menu.

Calculate Your Monthly Savings Balance

Students use a spreadsheet formula to calculate their monthly balance.

Calculate Expense by Category

Students use a spreadsheet formula to calculate the total cost of each of their expense categories.

Highlight Data with Conditional Formatting

Students use conditional formatting to highlight selected parts of their expense data.


Choose one of the extension videos below to learn additional skills and continue working on the project started in the main lesson.