Stop Bad Data from being entered into Excel using Data Validation Control

Excel has a feature called Data Validation that controls what the user can type into a cell. The entry choices include:

  • Any Value
  • Whole Number
  • Decimal
  • List
  • Date
  • Time
  • Text Length
  • Custom

Access Data Validation from the Data Tab.

Excel Data Validation

Select the cells you want to control then click Data Validation. Change the settings for what you want to allow. In this example I will choose List since I want to control user input to a list of categories for the expense report. I will enter “Auto Rental, Airfare, Lodging, Meals, Parking, Tips” in the source line.

Data Validation List

Click the Error Alert tab and write a message for the user to see after they enter bad data.

Data Validation List Error Alert

The error message will pop up after typing invalid data.

Wrong Data with Excel

The user gets an error because they typed food and the proper choice is meals.

They will see a drop down list with the master list.

Right Data List Excel


About Steve Chase

I'm a proud husband and dad to 4 boys! Microsoft Certified Trainer and Boy Scout Leader are some of things I call myself. The Cincinnati Reds are my favorite team! When not outdoors, I enjoy working with documents in Microsoft Office, QuickBooks, Visio and Photoshop. My wife, Erin, shares her awesome recipes on her blog at
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One Response to Stop Bad Data from being entered into Excel using Data Validation Control

  1. Pingback: Use Wildcards in COUNTIF Formula in Excel | Steve Chase Docs

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