Tip: Other languages are Google-Translated. You can visit the English version of this link.
Log in


How to hide previously used items in dropdown list?

In Excel, you can quickly create a normal dropdown list, but have you ever tried to make a dropdown list when you choose one item, the previously used one will be removed from the list? For example, if I have a dropdown list with 100 names, as I select a name, I want to delete this name from the drop down list, and now the dropdown contains 99 names, and so on until the drop down list is empty. Maybe, this is some difficult for most of us, and here, I can talk about how to create such a drop down list in Excel.

Hide previously used items in drop down list with helper columns

Excel Productivity Tools

Office Tab: Bring powerful tabs to Office (include Excel), just like Chrome, Safari, Firefox and Internet Explorer. Save you half the time, and reduce thousands of mouse clicks for you. 30-day Unlimited Free Trial

Kutools for Excel: Save 70% of your time and solve 80% Excel problems for you. 300+ advanced features designed for 1500+ work scenario, make Excel much easy and increase productivity immediately. 60-day Unlimited Free Trial

arrow blue right bubble Hide previously used items in drop down list with helper columns

Supposing you have a list of names in Column A as following screenshot shown, then follow the below steps one by one to finish this task.


1. Besides your name list, please enter this formula =IF(COUNTIF($F$1:$F$11,A1)>=1,"",ROW()) into cell B1, see screenshot:


Note: In the above formula, F1:F11is the cell range that you want to put the drop down list, and A1 is your name cell.

2. Then drag the fill handle over to the range that contain this formula, and you will get the following result:


3. And go on applying a formula in Column C, please type this formula: =IF(ROW(A1)-ROW(A$1)+1>COUNT(B$1:B$11),"",INDEX(A:A,SMALL(B$1:B$11,1+ROW(A1)-ROW(A$1)))) into cell C1, see screenshot:


4. Then fill this formula down to the range you need, see screenshot:


5. Now you need to define a range name for these names in Column C, select C1:C11 (the range you apply formula in step 4), and then click Formulas > Define Name, see screenshot:


6. In the New Name dialog box, type a name in the Name text box, and then enter this formula =OFFSET(Sheet2!$C$1,0,0,COUNTA(Sheet2!$C$1:$C$11)-COUNTBLANK(Sheet2!$C$1:$C$11),1) into the Refers to field, see screenshot:


Note: In the above formula, C1:C11 is the helper column range that you have created in Step 3, and the Sheet 2 is the current sheet you are using.

7. After finishing the settings, then you can create a drop down list, select cell F1: F11 where you want to put the drop down list, then click Data > Data Validation > Data Validation, see screenshot:


8. In the Data Validation dialog box, click Settings tab, then choose List from the Allow drop down list, and then under Source section, enter this formula: =namecheck, (namecheck is the range name you are created in Step 6), see screenshot:


9. And then click OK button to close this dialog, now, the drop down list have been created in the selected range, and after selecting one name from the drop down, this used name will be removed from the list and it only shows the names that have not been used, see screenshot:


Tip: You cannot remove the helper columns you make in above steps, if you remove them, the drop down list will be invalid.

Related articles:

How to insert drop down list in Excel?

How to quickly create dynamic drop down list in Excel?

How to create drop down list with images in Excel?

Excel Productivity Tools

Ribbon of Excel (with Kutools for Excel installed)

300+ Advanced Features Increase Your Productivity by 70%, and Help You To Stand Out From Crowd!

Would you like to complete your daily work quickly and perfectly? Kutools For Excel brings 300+ cool and powerful advanced features (Combine workbooks, sum by color, split cell contents, convert date, and so on...) for 1500+ work scenarios, helps you solve 80% Excel problems.

  • Deal with all complicated tasks in seconds, help to enhance your work ability, get success from the fierce competition, and never worry about being fired.
  • Save a lot of work time, leave much time for you to love and care the family and enjoy a comfortable life now.
  • Reduce thousands of keyboard and mouse clicks every day, relieve your tired eyes and hands, and give you a healthy body.
  • Become an Excel expert in 3 minutes, and get admiring glance from your colleagues or friends.
  • No longer need to remember any painful formulas and VBA codes, have a relaxing and pleasant mind, give you a thrill you've never had before.
  • Spend only $39, but worth than $4000 training of others. Being used by 110,000 elites and 300+ well-known companies.
  • 60-day unlimited free trial. 60-day money back guarantee. Free upgrade and support for 2 years. Buy once, use forever.
  • Change the way you work now, and give you a better life immediately!

Office Tab Brings Efficient And Handy Tabs to Office (include Excel), Just Like Chrome, Firefox, And New IE

  • Increases your productivity by 50% when viewing and editing multiple documents.
  • Reduce hundreds of mouse clicks for you every day, say goodbye to mouse hand.
  • Open and create documents in new tabs of same window, rather than in new windows.
  • Help you work faster and easily stand out from the crowd! One second to switch between dozens of open documents!
Say something here...
symbols left.
You are guest ( Sign Up? )
or post as a guest, but your post won't be published automatically.
Loading comment... The comment will be refreshed after 00:00.
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    John · 6 months ago
    Is there a way to have only some of the options get removed when selected and others be permanent?
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Keith Race · 7 months ago
    How do I get this activity to work if I transpose from Row to Column
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Sam · 8 months ago
    I’ve entered all the formulas correctly, but the only name showing up is the first one on the list. What am I doing wrong??
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Stefan · 1 years ago
    Works great, however, if you have two people on the list with the same name e.g. John Smith it removes both incidents of 'John Smith' from the list when you select one of them.

    Is there a way to amend this so that you have have multiple versions of the one name without them all being removed?

  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Derric · 2 years ago
    How would you change this formula for use of data validation list across multiple rows instead of a single column. Is that possible?