How Do I Create a Color Drop Down Box in Excel?

Updated March 23, 2017

There are many ways to create a colour drop-down list in Microsoft Excel. You can insert an ActiveX control and then assign a colour to the background of the control. You can configure conditional formatting so that a different colour shows in the cell based on the cell's value. However, the simplest way to create a drop-down box with a coloured background is to create a separate lookup list somewhere in the spreadsheet, consisting of choices for the drop-down box. Change the background colour of the cells for the lookup list and then use the lookup list as the drop-down box for the selected cell.

Go to a section of unused cells in the spreadsheet.

Type the choices that will appear in the drop-down list. Type one choice per cell and compose a list of choices with each selection under the previous one.

Highlight all cells in the list and then right-click on the highlighted block of cells.

Click "Format Cells" from the context menu.

Click the "Fill" tab and then click on the desired colour for the background of the lookup list (the selected cells).

Click "OK." The background colour of the cells is set.

Select the cell where the drop-down options will be placed.

Click "Data" from the top navigation bar. Click "Validation."

Click the "List" option from the "Allow" drop-down list.

Click the "Source" icon from the top navigation bar and drag the cursor over the lookup list. Alternatively, type the range of cells defining the lookup list, such as "(=$A$1:$A$4)."

Tick the box next to the "In-Cell Dropdown" option and then click "OK." The lookup list now appears as a drop-down box in the selected cell.

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About the Author

Tammy Clevenger works in the I.T. industry while maintaining creative outlets through film making, writing and audio production. She is a published academic author and is an accomplished and certified Project Management Professional.