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In this video, you will use data validation to limit the contents of a cell to a few specific choices.

Adding data validation creates a dropdown menu in a cell.

That menu lists items or choices, which you get to define.

Data validation allows you to pick items from a menu, instead of typing in text over and over.

It also helps you enter the correct information every time and keep your sheet consistent.

Adding data validation to your college applications sheet will help you see what tasks you still need to do.

Set up your data validation any way you like.

Do what best helps you track your college information.

For example, in the “Type of Decision” column, you might create a dropdown menu that includes words about application types, like “General” and “Rolling.”

To begin, select a column to add data validation to.

Then, use the menu to start your data validation.

You will type in a specific list of choices to appear in your pull-down menu.

To create your list, choose “List of Items” as your criteria.

In the text field, type the list of items that will appear in the dropdown menu.

Separate them with commas.

Notice that the column header shows an error message.

This appears because you applied data validation to the entire column.

The header text doesn’t match the criteria you set up.

To fix this, click the first cell in the column, and remove the data validation.

The error message disappears!

Follow these steps again with a different column in your spreadsheet if you’d like to add another drop-down menu to track different items.

For example, you might create a drop-down menu that contains just two items to show whether or not you submitted an application.

You might add data validation to another column to track what types of decision the college accepts.

Remember to remove the data validation from any cells where it should not appear.

Now, it’s your turn: Use data validation to create dropdown menus, And remove data validation from the header row.


  1. Use data validation to create dropdown menus.
  2. Remove data validation from the header row.