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How to create drop down list from another workbook in Excel?

It is quite easy to create a data validation drop down list among worksheets within a workbook. But if the source data you need for the drop-down list locates in another workbook, how would you do? In this tutorial, you will learn how to create a drop fown list from another workbook in Excel in details.

Create drop down list from another workbook in Excel

Create drop down list from another workbook in Excel

For creating drop dpwn list from another workbook, please do as follows.

1. Firstly, rename the workbook that contains the source data as “SourceData” or others you like. After renaming the workbook, open it.

2. Select the source data range (A2:A10 in this case), and then click Formulars > Define Name. See screenshot:

3. In the popping up New Name dialog box, type SourceList in the Name box, and click the OK button.

4. Press Ctrl + S to save the workbook.

5. Open the workbook where you want to create the drop down list, and click Formula > Define Name.

6. In the New Name dialog box, you need to:

1). Enter a name in the Name dialog box. In this case, we enter New;
2). Copy and paste =SourceData.xlsx!SourceList to the Refers to box;
3). Click the OK button. See screenshot:


1). SourceData in this formula is the name of the workbook that contains the source data;
2). And the SourceList is the range name you specified in the source data workbook;
3). If the workbook name of the source data contains spaces or other characters such as -, #..., you need to inclose the workbook name with single quotation marks such as ='Source Data.xlsx'! SourceList.

7. Select the cells for inserting the drop down list, and click Data > Data Validation.

8. In this Data Validation dialog box, go to the Settings tab, select List in the Allow drop-down list, enter =New in the Source box, and finally click the OK button. See screenshot:

Note: The =New you entered into the Source box is the range name you specified in above step 6.

9. Then a Microsoft Excel prompt box pops up, just click the Yes button.

Now the drop dow list is created with the data in other workbook. See screenshot:

Note: This method is somewhat frustrated, when using the drop-down list, you need to make sure the source data workbook is opened, otherwise, the drop down list won't display.

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