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How to 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. In this tutorial, we will provide you with inserting Combo box in the worksheet and running VBA code together for achieving the autocomplete function in the drop down list.

Autocomplete when typing in drop down list with VBA code


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Autocomplete when typing in drop down list with VBA code

Firstly you need to insert a combo box into the worksheet and change its properties, and then running the VBA code to enable the autocomplete.

1. Get into the worksheet which contains the drop down list you want it to be autocompleted.

2. Before inserting the Combo box, you need to enable the Developer tab in the ribbon.

1). In Excel 2010 and 2013, click File > Options. And in the Options dialog box, click Customize Ribbon in the right pane, check the Developer box, then click the OK button. See screenshot:

2). In Outlook 2007, click Office button > Excel Options. In the Excel Options dialog box, click Popular in the right bar, then check the Show Developer tabin the Ribbon box, and finally click the OK button.

3. Then click Developer > Insert > Combo Box under ActiveX Controls. See screenshot:

4. Draw the combo box in current opened worksheet and right click it. Select Properties in the right-clicking menu.

5. In the Properties dialog box, you need to:

1). Change the name to TempCombo in the Name field;

2). Specify the font you need in the Font field;

3). Scroll down to select 1-fmMatchEntryComplete in the MatchEntry field;

4). Close the Properties dialog box.

6. Turn off the Design Mode with clicking Developer > Design Mode.

7. Right click on the current opened worksheet tab and click View Code. See screenshot:

8. Make sure that the current worksheet code editor is opened, and then copy and paste the below VBA code into it. See screenshot:

VBA code: Autocomplete when typing in drop down list

Private Sub Worksheet_SelectionChange(ByVal Target As Range)
'Update by Extendoffice: 2017/8/15
    Dim xCombox As OLEObject
    Dim xStr As String
    Dim xWs As Worksheet
    Set xWs = Application.ActiveSheet
    On Error Resume Next
    Set xCombox = xWs.OLEObjects("TempCombo")
    With xCombox
        .ListFillRange = ""
        .LinkedCell = ""
        .Visible = False
    End With
    If Target.Validation.Type = 3 Then
        Target.Validation.InCellDropdown = False
        Cancel = True
        xStr = Target.Validation.Formula1
        xStr = Right(xStr, Len(xStr) - 1)
        If xStr = "" Then Exit Sub
        With xCombox
            .Visible = True
            .Left = Target.Left
            .Top = Target.Top
            .Width = Target.Width + 5
            .Height = Target.Height + 5
            .ListFillRange = xStr
            .LinkedCell = Target.Address
        End With
        xCombox.Activate
        Me.TempCombo.DropDown
    End If
End Sub
Private Sub TempCombo_KeyDown(ByVal KeyCode As MSForms.ReturnInteger, ByVal Shift As Integer)
    Select Case KeyCode
        Case 9
            Application.ActiveCell.Offset(0, 1).Activate
        Case 13
            Application.ActiveCell.Offset(1, 0).Activate
    End Select
End Sub

9. Click File > Close and Return to Microsoft Excel to close the Microsoft Visual Basic for Application window.

10. Now, just click the cell with drop down list, you can see the drop-down list is displayed as a combo box, then type the first letter into the box, the corresponding word will be completed automatically. See screenshot:

Note: This VBA code is not applied to merged cells.


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  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    cchambers · 23 days ago
    I have 2 drop down lists I would like to convert to combo boxes, the second list values are dependent on the option selected in list 1. Further, i have 2 additional copies of this model, and would like each of the drop downs to work separately, to allow the user to select items to compare between each model. Is there a way to do this? When i try the steps outlined, each of the combo boxes are linked to the same list.
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Jordi · 1 months ago
    Now its only searching for the first letters. Is it possible that it also search for complete words in the middle. Example PEFC Thermopal white. If i write white that it search for every row with white in it. It's the same question what @Rusty asked below ''I too would love something like Kumar indicates. Let's say one of the values in the drop down list is "John Goodman", is there anyway for the combo box to select and populate "John Goodman" as the user types just "Goodman"?
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Ilze · 1 months ago
    Is it possible to assign the combo box to a specific data validation list using this code? I have more than 1 data validation list, but I only want the combobox to run with 1 specific data validation list. Would appreciate your help with this.
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Dan · 1 months ago
    This doesn't seem to work if your data validation source is a name range within a table. Is there any way around that?
    • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
      M. Amir Ashraf · 22 days ago
      "This doesn't seem to work if your data validation source is a name range within a table", I've also encountered the same problem when assigning the range thru VBA, however, it does seem to work if you assign it manually thru properties. It is annoying, but is a way out.
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    imre · 1 months ago
    Hi, please help me to sort my issue with this code. Its working fine excpet one thing. When code is active excel wont let me to Copy and paste anything within the sheet. I tested on 2016 excel and its PERFECT! but at work we have 2007 excel... Its working but blocking copy and paste, why it is happening?