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How to create drop down list with multiple selections or values in Excel?

By default, when you create a data validation drop down list in your worksheet, you can just select only one item per time in the list. But if you want to select multiple values in the drop-down list, what would you do? In this article, we will show you how to enhance the selection in the drop-down list.

Create drop down list with multiple selections with VBA code


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Create drop down list with multiple selections with VBA code

With VBA method, your drop down list can select multiple values instead of one in your worksheet.

1. After creating your drop down list, for example your drop down list is locating in sheet1, right click on the Sheet1 tab and click View Code in the right-clicking menu. See screenshot:

2. In the Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications window, double click the Sheet1 to open the Code editor, then copy and paste the below VBA code into the editor. See screenshot:

VBA code: drop down list with multiple selections

Private Sub Worksheet_Change(ByVal Target As Range)
    'Updated: 2016/4/12
    Dim xRng As Range
    Dim xValue1 As String
    Dim xValue2 As String
    If Target.Count > 1 Then Exit Sub
    On Error Resume Next
    Set xRng = Cells.SpecialCells(xlCellTypeAllValidation)
    If xRng Is Nothing Then Exit Sub
    Application.EnableEvents = False
    If Not Application.Intersect(Target, xRng) Is Nothing Then
        xValue2 = Target.Value
        Application.Undo
        xValue1 = Target.Value
        Target.Value = xValue2
        If xValue1 <> "" Then
            If xValue2 <> "" Then
                If xValue1 = xValue2 Or _
                   InStr(1, xValue1, ", " & xValue2) Or _
                   InStr(1, xValue1, xValue2 & ",") Then
                    Target.Value = xValue1
                Else
                    Target.Value = xValue1 & ", " & xValue2
                End If
            End If
        End If
    End If
    Application.EnableEvents = True
End Sub

3. Then click File > Close and Return to Microsoft Excel to exit the Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications window.

4. Go to the drop down list you have created, you can select multiple values from the list as below screenshot shows.

Notes:

1. Duplicate values do not allow in the drop-down list.

2. The VBA code can only work for the current opened workbook. If you close and reopen the workbook, the VBA code will be removed automatically from your worksheet, and also the multiple selection is unusable anymore. So you need to save the workbook as Excel Macro- Enabled Workbook format when you save your workbook.


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  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Ramon · 2 years ago
    Hi there,

    Code works fine. However, I can't seem to deselect an item. When I want to remove an item from the selection, it's just not removed. Does anybody else experience this problem too?
    • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
      StPaulSue · 1 years ago
      delete the content in the cell, then reselect
    • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
      THG · 2 years ago
      Was there a response to this issue. It is the same issue I am having. There doesn't seem to be a way to remove an item that has been selected.
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Charity · 2 years ago
    This works well, but I am unable to remove an item once selected. Any suggestions in case I click on something accidently and need to remove it without (hopefully) clearing the whole cell and starting over?

    Also, for those seeking to define a column or columns, Contextures has a great addition to the code provided here that allows you to do that.
    http://www.contextures.com/excel-data-validation-multiple.html#column
    • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
      Nirmala · 2 years ago
      [quote name="Charity"]This works well, but I am unable to remove an item once selected. Any suggestions in case I click on something accidently and need to remove it without (hopefully) clearing the whole cell and starting over?

      Also, for those seeking to define a column or columns, Contextures has a great addition to the code provided here that allows you to do that.
      http://www.contextures.com/excel-data-validation-multiple.html#column[/quote]

      Code works fine. However, I can't seem to deselect an item. When I want to remove an item from the selection, it's just not removed. Does anybody else experience this problem too?[/quote]

      Hi all,

      Any solutions found for this problem..please share..
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    stef · 3 years ago
    Hi I am currently using this formula and all columns with data validation have the multiple selection option now, however I want to restrict the multiple selection only to one column. Can someone edit this formula for me so the multiple selection can be applied only to Column4? Thanks :)

    Private Sub Worksheet_Change(ByVal Target As Range)
    'Updated: 2016/4/12
    Dim xRng As Range
    Dim xValue1 As String
    Dim xValue2 As String
    If Target.Count > 1 Then Exit Sub
    On Error Resume Next
    Set xRng = Cells.SpecialCells(xlCellTypeAllValidation)
    If xRng Is Nothing Then Exit Sub
    Application.EnableEvents = False
    If Not Application.Intersect(Target, xRng) Is Nothing Then
    xValue2 = Target.Value
    Application.Undo
    xValue1 = Target.Value
    Target.Value = xValue2
    If xValue1 "" Then
    If xValue2 "" Then
    If xValue1 = xValue2 Or _
    InStr(1, xValue1, ", " & xValue2) Or _
    InStr(1, xValue1, xValue2 & ",") Then
    Target.Value = xValue1
    Else
    Target.Value = xValue1 & ", " & xValue2
    End If
    End If
    End If
    End If
    Application.EnableEvents = True
    End Sub

    Any assistance will be appreciated!
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Mervyn · 3 years ago
    @Cynthia,

    If still required, you should be able to do something like this to only ensure the code runs on specific columns, in my case, column 34 and 35:

    If (Target.Column 34 And Target.Column 35) Then Exit Sub

    'Put this code at the beginning after your dim statements
    • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
      Dhina · 1 years ago
      If Target.Column <> 34 Then Exit Sub

      'Put this code at the beginning after your dim statements
    • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
      CynthiaB · 2 years ago
      [quote name="Mervyn"]@Cynthia,

      If still required, you should be able to do something like this to only ensure the code runs on specific columns, in my case, column 34 and 35:

      If (Target.Column 34 And Target.Column 35) Then Exit Sub

      'Put this code at the beginning after your dim statements[/quote]


      Hi @Mervyn,

      Lost track of the thread completely, but thank you so much for your responses.

      I've tried applying the
      If (Target.Column 34 And Target.Column 35) Then Exit Sub
      (my version reads If (Target.Column4 And Target.Column5) Then Exit Sub
      as you supplied, but am getting a "Run-time error '438': Object doesn't support this property or method"" error on this new line.

      Here are the first few lines of my code:

      Private Sub Worksheet_Change(ByVal Target As Range)
      Dim xRng As Range
      Dim xValue1 As String
      Dim xValue2 As String
      If (Target.Column4 And Target.Column5) Then Exit Sub
      If Target.Count > 1 Then Exit Sub

      On Error Resume Next


      My worksheet only has 6 columns: Question | Answer | Category | Sub-Category | Tags | Photo link
      I only need multiple value drop downs in Sub-Category and Tags (columns 4 & 5).

      I'll keep looking for info as you suggested on 12/23, and will look at the link Charity provided.
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Mervyn · 3 years ago
    Hi Cynthia,

    If the original author doesn't reply, I'll get you an answer but I'll only be in front of a computer on 29 Dec again. I'm also no VBA programmer. What you can do in the mean time is Google search how to identify the column number and only let the code run if data is edited in that specific column(s). I've done it but the code is on my work PC and can't recall it at the moment,maybe try putting a debug.print on target.column or something to that effect to see if it gives you the column number being edited.

    Sorry Jennifer, not sure about the issue you're having :(