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How to create slicers as an alternative to dependent drop-down lists in Excel?

Author: Siluvia Last Modified: 2022-09-13

Usually, we create multi-level dependent drop-down lists to see all corresponding items from a dataset. As shown in the gif below, all choices in the sub drop-down lists depend on the item selected in the primary drop-down list. However, the approach to achieve this task is multi-steps and time-consuming. Here, in this tutorial, we will describe how to use “slicers” as an alternative to dependent drop-down lists in Excel.

Create slicers as an alternative to dependent drop-down lists in Excel

Please do as follows to create slicers as an alternative to dependent drop-down lists in Excel.

1. Make sure that your data range is Table format.

Tips: If the data range is not Table format, you need to convert it to Table.

1) Select the whole data range and press Ctrl + T keys.
2) In the opening Create Table dialog box, you can see the address of the selected range is listed in the textbox. If the range you selected has headers, please check the My table has header box and click the OK button.

2. Click on any cell in the table, then click Design (under the Table Tools tab) > Insert Slicer.

3. In the Insert Slicers dialog box, all headers of the table are listed. You need to check which columns you would like to display, and then click the OK button. In my case, I check all the columns.

Then, it inserts 5 slicers (the number of slicers inserted depends on how many headers you selected in step 3) into the current worksheet.

4. Now you need to manually place the slicers side by side and adjust the sizes to your needs. See screenshot:

5. When picking any item in the primary slicer, the corresponding items in the sub slicers will be highlighted immediately.

Note: You can see in the screenshot above that all items that are not part of the item selected by the primary slicer are still displayed in the sub slicer. To hide these invalid items, you can do as follows:

1) Right click the slicer where you want to hide the invalid items and select Slicer Setting in the context menu.

2) In the popping up Slicer Settings dialog box, check the Hide items with no data box in the Item Sorting and Filtering section, and then click the OK button.

3) Repeat the above step 1 and 2 to hide invalid items in all sub slicers you need.

From now on, when selecting an item in the primary slicer, only corresponding items based on this selection will be displayed in the sub slicers. See screenshot:


1) You can select multiple items in the slicer by enabling the Multi-Select options and then selecting the items one by one.

2) You can clear the current selection by clicking the Clear Filter button in the upper right corner of the slicer.

3) In fact, there is no master-slave relationship between the slicers. You can select items in any of the slicers to display the corresponding items for a dataset.

4) After selecting items in the slicers, the original data will also be filtered.

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