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

Written by tammy clevenger
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How Do I Create a Color Drop Down Box in Excel?
You can use coloured drop-down boxes in Excel. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

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.

Skill level:


    Create Lookup List With Background Color

  1. 1

    Go to a section of unused cells in the spreadsheet.

  2. 2

    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.

  3. 3

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

  4. 4

    Click "Format Cells" from the context menu.

  5. 5

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

  6. 6

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

    Add the Lookup Cells As a Drop-down Box

  1. 1

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

  2. 2

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

  3. 3

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

  4. 4

    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)."

  5. 5

    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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