Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Setting Data Validation Input Messages.

Setting Data Validation Input Messages

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 12, 2016)

2

Once you have defined a validation rule for the data in a cell, Excel allows you to easily define a message that should appear whenever the cell is selected. These messages are called input messages, and their purpose is to help the user understand what information they should enter in the cell. To enter a data validation input message, follow these steps:

  1. Select the cell for which you want to define the messages.
  2. Choose the Validation option from the Data menu. Excel displays the Data Validation dialog box.
  3. Set any data validation rules desired.
  4. Click on the Input Message tab. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Input Message tab of the Data Validation dialog box.

  6. Enter a message in either field in the dialog box, as desired.
  7. Click on the OK button.

Notice that Excel allows you to specify both a title and body for your data validation message. The only difference between the two is that the title appears on its own line and is shown in a bold typeface. You can define any message you desire. When you later select the cell, the data validation messages appear in their own message box near the selected cell.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2854) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Setting Data Validation Input Messages.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Aligning Positive and Negative Whole Numbers in a Column

When you use a table to present numeric information, you may want to have Word align the numbers in the table. This can be a ...

Discover More

Empty Cells Triggers Error

By default, Excel provides some feedback on your formulas so that you can easily locate potential errors. If you get tired of ...

Discover More

Adjusting Row Height for a Number of Worksheets

Adjusting the height of a row or range of rows is relatively easy in Excel. How do you adjust the height of those same rows ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Adding Pop-Up Documentation to a Cell

Want to have a small help screen pop up when a user selects a particular cell? This can be done by using data validation, as ...

Discover More

Limiting Input to a Format

When setting up a worksheet for others to use, you might want to make some limitations on what can be entered in certain ...

Discover More

Stopping Validated Data from being Overwritten

Data Validation is a great tool to make sure that data entered in a cell meets whatever criteria you decide. Its weakness, ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is five more than 2?

2016-04-22 08:37:50

Gemma

Hi, is there a way to have the option to autocomplete the options you have set it up in the dropdown list?
Meaning, you have got a list of options (could be thousands of it) and instead of having to find the one you need, you start typing it and it autocomplete with the ones are in the list. Is that posible and how?


2016-04-18 00:57:49

MIHA

please, how I can program pop-up of Validation Input Messages on opening of worksheet and do it according to logical check of other cell?


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.