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: Limiting Choices in a Cell.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 20, 2018)
When you are developing worksheets that will be used by others, you may want to limit what your users can enter into a particular cell. For instance, you might have a cell where the user should enter their department. You would obviously want them to only enter one of the valid departments for your company.
To ensure that only certain departments can be entered in the cell, follow these steps:
Figure 1. The Settings tab of the Data Validation dialog box.
Figure 2. The Error Alert tab of the Data Validation dialog box.
That's it. Now, the user can only enter one of your valid department names. Better yet, when they select the cell they will see a drop-down arrow at the right of the cell where they can select from the department names you specified in step 5. If they enter one that is incorrect, they will see the error message and will need to change what they entered.
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2943) 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: Limiting Choices in a Cell.
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