Note: The other languages of the website are Google-translated. Back to English

How to add color to drop down list in Excel?

In Excel, create a drop-down list can help you a lot, and sometimes, you need to color coded the drop down list values depending on the corresponding selected. For instance, I have created a drop-down list of the fruit names, when I select Apple, I need the cell is colored with red automatically, and when I choose Orange, the cell can be colored with orange as following screenshot shown. Are there any good suggestions to solve this?
doc-color-drop-down-list1

Method A Color coded drop down list with Conditional Formatting

Method B Color coded drop down list with a handy tool-Colored Drop-down List


For finishing this task, we need to create a drop down list first, please do as following steps:

First, create a drop-down list:

1. Create a list of data and select a range that you want to put the drop down list values into. In this case, I select range A2:A6 to put the drop-down list, see screenshot:
doc-color-drop-down-list2

2. Click Data > Data Validation > Data Validation, see screenshot:
doc-color-drop-down-list3

3. And in the Data Validation dialog box, click Settings tab, and choose List option from the Allow drop down list, and then click to select the list values that you want to use. See screenshot:
doc-color-drop-down-list4

4. Then click OK, the drop-down list has been created as following shown:
doc-color-drop-down-list5

Now, you can add color to drop-down list, choose one method as you need.


Method A Color coded drop-down list with Conditional Formatting

1. Highlight your drop-down cells (here is column A), and go to click Home > Conditional Formatting > New Rule, see screenshot:
doc-color-drop-down-list6

2. In the New Formatting Rule dialog box, click Format only cells that contain option in the Select a Rule Type section, under the Format only cells with section, choose Specific Text from the first drop down list and select containing from the second drop down, then click doc button 1button to select the value that you want to format a specific color, see screenshot:
doc-color-drop-down-list7

3. Then click Format button, and select one color you like from the Fill tab.
doc-color-drop-down-list8

4. And then click OK > OK to close the dialogs, repeat steps 5 to 7 for each other drop down selection, for example, Peach for pink, Grape for purple…
doc-color-drop-down-list9

5. After setting the colors for the values, when you choose anyone value from the drop-down menu, the cell will be colored with its specified color automatically.
doc-color-drop-down-list10


Method B Color coded drop down list with a handy tool-Colored Drop-down List

If you want to handle this job more quickly, you can try the Colored Drop-down List tools of Kutools for Excel, which can help you directly add colors to the items of drop-down list.

Kutools for Excel, with more than 300 handy functions, makes your jobs more easier. 

After free installing Kutools for Excel, please do as below:

1. Select the drop-down list cells, then click Kutools > Drop-down List > Colored Drop-down List.
doc-color-drop-down-list11

2. In the Colored Drop-down list dialog, do below settings.

1) Check the scale you want to add color to in the Apply to section.
doc-color-drop-down-list12

If you check Row of data range in the Apply to section, you need to select the row range.
doc-color-drop-down-list13

2) Add colors to the items of drop-down list one by one.

Click at one item in the List Items, then click one color you need to add the color to the selected item.
doc-color-drop-down-list14

Repeat the step to add colors to all items.
doc-color-drop-down-list15

3. Click Ok. Now the items in drop-down list have been colored.
doc-color-drop-down-list1


Other Operations (Articles)

Autocomplete when typing in Excel drop down list
If you have a data validation drop down list with large values, you need to scroll down in the list just for finding the proper one, or type the whole word into the list box directly. If there is method for allowing to auto complete when typing the first letter in the drop down list, everything will become easier.

Create a dependent drop down list in Google sheet
Inserting normal drop down list in Google sheet may be an easy job for you, but, sometimes, you may need to insert a dependent drop down list which means the second drop down list depending on the choice of the first drop down list.

Create a drop down list from another drop down list in Excel
In this tutorial, I introduce the way to create a drop down list from another drop down list as below screenshot shown in Excel.

Create a dynamic drop down list in alphabetical order in Excel
Most of you may know how to create a dynamic drop down list, but in some cases, you may want to sort the drop down list in alphabetical order as below screenshot shown. Now this tutorial introduces the way to create a dynamic drop down list in alphabetical order in Excel



  • Super Formula Bar (easily edit multiple lines of text and formula); Reading Layout (easily read and edit large numbers of cells); Paste to Filtered Range...
  • Merge Cells/Rows/Columns and Keeping Data; Split Cells Content; Combine Duplicate Rows and Sum/Average... Prevent Duplicate Cells; Compare Ranges...
  • Select Duplicate or Unique Rows; Select Blank Rows (all cells are empty); Super Find and Fuzzy Find in Many Workbooks; Random Select...
  • Exact Copy Multiple Cells without changing formula reference; Auto Create References to Multiple Sheets; Insert Bullets, Check Boxes and more...
  • Favorite and Quickly Insert Formulas, Ranges, Charts and Pictures; Encrypt Cells with password; Create Mailing List and send emails...
  • Extract Text, Add Text, Remove by Position, Remove Space; Create and Print Paging Subtotals; Convert Between Cells Content and Comments...
  • Super Filter (save and apply filter schemes to other sheets); Advanced Sort by month/week/day, frequency and more; Special Filter by bold, italic...
  • Combine Workbooks and WorkSheets; Merge Tables based on key columns; Split Data into Multiple Sheets; Batch Convert xls, xlsx and PDF...
  • Pivot Table Grouping by week number, day of week and more... Show Unlocked, Locked Cells by different colors; Highlight Cells That Have Formula/Name...
kte tab 201905
  • Enable tabbed editing and reading in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher, Access, Visio and Project.
  • Open and create multiple documents in new tabs of the same window, rather than in new windows.
  • Increases your productivity by 50%, and reduces hundreds of mouse clicks for you every day!
officetab bottom
Comments (46)
No ratings yet. Be the first to rate!
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
I tried this but it will not display colours when selecting from the drop down list. What on earth am I doing wrong?
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
Hi Tiger, I works only if you type the word what is the value or word in cell such like apple or grape etc. Meaning, instead of you type the $D$2, it should be you the word apple. Try and let me know if still doenst work.
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
Tiger, For the conditional formatting, make sure you are highlighting the cells where you will see the data in the spreadsheet, not the cells where you wrote the drop down menu options. Do that with only one cell, when you got it to work, just drag this cell around to cover your entire spreadsheet.
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
Really great and useful and clear. THANK YOU.
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
What if I can click on the cell, but it won't let me click on conditional formatting. It is black and is not an option.
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
extremely helpful :-) thank you
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
Awesome stuff, made me look so genius to my friend
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
I can get to point 6 then when i select specifc text and containg, when i go to use the cell location icon it is not there, can anybody help please. I have tried just putting in the cell details but this does not work either.help required please.
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
This is good stuff but it does not work for me. I formatted the cells that I used for my list with the colours but when I select from my list it's not working. Please help!
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
It's very helpful to saparate the data with colours.
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
It didn't work for me either. I followed it step by step 3 times and still no color.
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
This will format the cell with the data chosen via the pulldown list, but it will *not* format the options you see in the pulldown list before you select one. In other words, it's just Data Validation and Conditional Formatting on the same cell -- not formatted pulldown list entries.
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
won't work for me either
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
Awesome! It was very helpful. Thank you.
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
Works brilliantly. Thanks very much.
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
Excellent page, just what I was looking for. Many thanks.
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
it works... thank you :-)
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
I've set up my drop down boxes in excel. I now want to include this into an email so my recipients can use the drop downs. When I insert excel spreadsheet into Outlook and send email,drop downs don't work.
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
Worked like a champ. Thanks! Remember to do conditional formatting to the cell which will use the drop and not the values in the drop down. Once I did that it worked as designed.
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
it didn't work here.
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
Worked well and is simple. Thanks
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
This works perfectly. If it doesn't work for you, remember to place the conditional formatting to the cell where you want the drop down placed, not on the drop down text. It didn't work for me at first, but when I read these comments, I understood where I went wrong. It works great.
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
Man, this is what I was exactly looking for. Thank you very much!
There are no comments posted here yet
Load More
Leave your comments
Posting as Guest
×
Rate this post:
0   Characters
Suggested Locations