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3. Update Tasks with a Drop-Down Menu

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In this video, you will add a drop-down menu to your spreadsheet to update the status of each project task.

To start, add a column to the right of the “owner” column.

This column will track the completion level of each task.

Name the new column “status.”

You could type the status of each task into your tracker, one at a time.

But this is time consuming, especially if you are managing a complex project with many tasks.

Your tracker can also become unclear if the status updates are not consistent.

To make your project tracker both convenient and accurate, you should be able to make status updates with a single click, and the same terms should be used every time.

You can accomplish this by using data validation.

In Google Sheets, data validation allows only specific information to appear in a cell.

You will use data validation to create a drop-down menu that limits the information in the status column to four possible choices.

To start, highlight the cells in the “status column” down to the bottom of your task list.

Then, from the data menu, choose “data validation.”

The cell range you highlighted should appear in the box.

Choose “list of items” from the menu.

Then, type in the task status terms that will appear in your drop-down menu.

This example uses: Not started, In progress, On hold, and Completed. Use these same terms, or type ones that fit best with your project.

Separate the items in the list with commas.

Make sure the “show dropdown list in cell” box is checked.

Save the data validation.

The project tracker now has a drop-down menu in each cell in the “status” column.

If you try to type other information in the Status column, an error message appears.

That is the data validation at work!

Use the drop-down menu to update the status of each task in your project tracker.

This is much easier than typing in the status of each task one at a time, plus it reduces the chance of typing errors.

In the next video, you will use conditional formatting to change the color of cells and text in your spreadsheet to show the status of each task at a glance.

Now, it’s your turn: Add a “status” column to your project tracker.

Use data validation to create a drop-down menu of status update options.


  1. Add a Status column.
  2. Use data validation.
  3. Create a drop-down menu of options.