Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Limiting Entry of Names.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 12, 2017)
Using Excel for entering data is quite common. When you are entering information, you may want to limit what can be placed in a particular cell. For instance, you might be working on an employee register, and you need to make sure that you only enter each employee's name a single time in the worksheet.
One way to approach this challenge is to create a list of allowable names, either on another worksheet or in a different place on the same worksheet. Give this list of names a defined name, such as ValidNames. Then, follow these steps:
Figure 1. The Settings tab of the Data Validation dialog box.
This validation formula works because it checks the input range (A1:A10) and makes sure that no more than one name from the ValidNames list appears there.
This formulaic method works great if you are typing names into your input list. If you instead prefer to use a drop-down list to select names, there is a slick method presented at this Web page:
What makes it slick is that the drop-down list is dynamic. For instance, when you select a name to go into one cell, that name is removed from the drop-down list used to select names in other cells. Quite nice.
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (7361) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Limiting Entry of Names.
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