Select Multiple Items from Drop Down List in Excel Without VBA

Selecting multiple items from a drop-down list in Excel can be a game-changer when it comes to data entry and analysis. But what if you’re not a fan of VBA or simply don’t have the time to learn it? Don’t worry; there’s a simple way to do it without any coding required. All you need to do is follow some straightforward steps to set up your Excel sheet, and you’ll be selecting multiple items in no time.

Step by Step Tutorial: Select Multiple Items from Drop Down List Excel Without VBA

Before we dive into the steps, let’s understand what we’re trying to achieve here. We want to create a drop-down list where we can select multiple items, and each selection will be displayed in the cell. This will be done by using data validation and a few formulae.

Step 1: Set up your list

Create your list of items that you want to include in the drop-down list.

When creating your list, it’s essential to have each item in a separate cell in a single column. This will be the source for your drop-down list. Make sure to name the range for easy reference.

Step 2: Apply Data Validation

Select the cell where you want the drop-down list and go to Data > Data Validation.

In the Data Validation settings, under the ‘Allow’ option, choose ‘List’. Then in the ‘Source’ box, enter the range of your list created in step 1. This will create a drop-down list with your items.

Step 3: Use CONCATENATE formula

Create a helper column next to your drop-down list. In the first cell of this column, enter the formula =CONCATENATE(YourCell, ", "), replacing ‘YourCell’ with the reference to your drop-down cell.

The CONCATENATE formula will help you display multiple selections in one cell. Each time you make a selection, it will be added to the previous ones, separated by a comma.

Step 4: Adjust cell references

Copy the CONCATENATE formula down the helper column so that it applies to as many cells as you need.

Make sure to adjust the cell references in the CONCATENATE formula to match the corresponding drop-down list cells. This ensures that each drop-down list has its own ‘accumulating’ cell for selected items.

Step 5: Make multiple selections

Now, when you need to make multiple selections, simply select the first item from the drop-down list, then go back and select the next item.

The selected items will be displayed in the helper column cell, separated by commas. You can continue to add as many items as needed.

After completing these steps, you’ll have an Excel sheet where you can select multiple items from a drop-down list without using any VBA scripts. This setup will significantly reduce the time and effort needed to input data when multiple selections are required.

Tips for Selecting Multiple Items from Drop Down List Excel Without VBA

  • Ensure your list of items does not contain any duplicates, as this may confuse the data validation process.
  • Keep the list range and the drop-down cells close together to make it easier to copy the CONCATENATE formula.
  • Use named ranges to simplify the creation and management of your drop-down lists.
  • If you need to select a large number of items frequently, consider increasing the size of the drop-down cell to accommodate the concatenated list.
  • Regularly verify that the CONCATENATE function is correctly displaying all selected items, especially if you make changes to the list or drop-down cells.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use this method on Excel for Mac?

Yes, this method works on Excel for Mac as well as Windows versions. The steps for setting up the data validation and formulas are the same.

What if I want to remove an item from the selection?

Simply edit the cell with the CONCATENATE formula and manually remove the item and its following comma.

How many items can I select using this method?

There is no set limit to the number of items you can select. However, the practical limit will be determined by the size of your Excel cell and the readability of the concatenated list.

Can I use this method for multiple cells in the same sheet?

Absolutely! You can apply these steps to as many cells as needed, just make sure to adjust the cell references accordingly.

Is there a way to automate the removal of the last comma in the list?

Yes, you can use the SUBSTITUTE and TRIM functions to automatically remove the last comma. However, this requires a more advanced understanding of Excel formulas.


  1. Set up your list of items for the drop-down.
  2. Apply Data Validation to the cell where you want the drop-down list.
  3. Use the CONCATENATE formula in a helper column to display multiple selections.
  4. Adjust cell references for the CONCATENATE formula as needed.
  5. Make multiple selections from the drop-down list.


Selecting multiple items from a drop-down list in Excel without using VBA can seem tricky at first, but with the right approach, it’s quite straightforward. This method is a lifesaver for those who need to input multiple selections quickly and efficiently. Remember, the key is to set up your list correctly, apply data validation, and use the CONCATENATE formula like a pro. Once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without this nifty trick. So why not give it a try and see how it streamlines your Excel tasks? Happy Excel-ing!