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How to Create & Color a Drop Down List in Excel?

Do you want to add colour to a drop-down list in Excel? It’s very easy, create a drop-down list and add conditional formatting rules to the cell.

Color can be a powerful element in an Excel drop down list, on the upcoming lines we will see how to add a new list and validation control, and then add the conditional format rules to include visual cues.

How to create a drop down list in Excel?

Add a new sheet and then add a new list with the text items red, blue, green, and yellow

Create a drop down list in E4 using the color list as the source

To create a drop-down list in E4:

  • Create the list in cells A1:A4. Similarly, you can enter the items in a single row, such as A1:D1.
  • Select cell E4. (You can position the drop down list in most any cell or even multiple cells.)
  • Choose Validation from the Data menu.
  • Choose List from the Allow option’s drop down list. (See, they’re everywhere.)
  • Click the Source control and drag to highlight the cells A1:A4. Alternately, simply enter the reference (=$A$1:$A$4).
How to create a drop down list in Excel?
How to create a drop down list in Excel?
  • Make sure the In-Cell Dropdown option is checked. If you uncheck this option, Excel still forces users to enter only list values (A1:A4), but it won’t present a drop down list.
  • Click OK.

How to add color to the drop down list?

To add a conditional rule that changes the font color to red when the selected list value is red, follow these steps.

  • With E4  selected, click Conditional Formatting in the Styles group.
  • Choose New Rule from the submenu.
  • In the top pane, select the Format Only Cells That Contain option.
  • In the lower section, change the first drop-down setting (Cell Value) to Specific Text.
  • Change the second drop-down to containing.
  • In the third control, enter =A1, the cell that contains the text value red.
How to add color to the drop down list?
How to add color to the drop down list?
  • Click the Format button, click the Font tab, choose red, and click OK.

  • Click OK again. If you select red, the font color is red.

If you selected the other three list items, the font will still black. To change this, create a new rule for the other three using the same method.


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