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: Drop-Down List of Hyperlinks.

Drop-Down List of Hyperlinks

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 30, 2016)

Greg knows that he can use data validation to create a drop-down list of choices for a particular cell. (How to do this has been covered in other ExcelTips.) He wonders if it possible to create a drop-down list of hyperlinks and, further, have those hyperlinks remain "hot" when they are selected.

The short answer is no, you can't do that directly. You can, however, make whatever you select in the drop-down list become active. This behavior is a bit kludgy in Excel, however. Follow these general steps:

  1. Select a URL from your drop-down list. (The list created using data validation.) The URL now appears in the cell.
  2. Double-click the URL that appears in the cell. Excel lets you start to edit the hyperlink.
  3. Press Enter. The URL now becomes active ("hot").
  4. Click the URL one more time to follow to that link.

As you can tell, these steps are a bit awkward, and they become more so if you want to select a different URL from the drop-down list. (You must first right-click and remove the hyperlink and then do the above steps again.)

Perhaps a better solution is to use a workaround that relies on the HYPERLINK function to refer to whatever is selected in the drop-down list. For instance, if you have your data validation drop-down list in cell A1, then you might put the following formula in cell B1:

=HYPERLINK(A1, "Goto Link")

The second parameter in the function is optional; it provides the text you want displayed in the cell. (If you don't provide the second parameter, then the contents of A1 are repeated in B1—something you may not want to see.) When someone picks an option in the drop-down list, the link in cell B1 becomes active and will link to whatever was selected in A1.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3458) 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: Drop-Down List of Hyperlinks.

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. ...

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