Improve OT Productivity – Create Dropdown Lists in Excel

Use cases

Tired of typing the same data in your documentation? You can cut down on time by using drop-down lists, and if you are a keyboard-only user, drop-down lists can be manipulated with keyboard shortcuts.

Example: Conference note with CARE scores

As FIM got phased out, I spent extra time getting used to the new CARE scale, which eliminated 7 – Independent. While we have a laminated printout of the new CARE tool, which I referred to next to my monitor, I still had to process it in my head and type it out. I then thought to myself, I type the same thing all the time, besides the subjective parts for conference notes. Why not make a drop-down for current and goal level of function?

This has applications for many uses and is only limited by your imagination. You can also use it outside of work in your own personal life such as for personal finance.

How To Make Dropdown Lists

This should work on any version of Excel and is limited by where to find the menu or buttons in your specific version. The basic set-up is the same.

  1. Input the dropdown list items in a column going down, each row representing an item in the list.
  2. Click on a blank cell where you want to create the drop-down list.
  3. Go to DATA > Validation.
  4. Choose LIST from the drop-down options.
  5. In SOURCE, drag the cells for the column of values you inputted in step #1.
  6. Make sure the In-Cell Dropdown option is checked.
  7. Click OK

Now an arrow appears when you hover over the cell with your mouse!

Tip: To invoke the dropdown list when that cell is selected, enter ALT + Down Arrow on your keyboard. Now you can control excel and input a drop-down menu item without using the mouse.

After all your data is all inputted in excel, just copy and paste it into my documentation system – saving you lots of time. Now share your knowledge with your co-workers!