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 want to help you work in your business, so you can work on your business. I want to help you achieve your goals and help you have a successful small business journey. I understand that keeping up with the latest technology and cloud based computer trends can be difficult, when you’re running your day to day business. But, it is crucial that you keep up with the technology and best understand your options, in order to thrive in this new era of online business. I can help you discover the right software and tools for your business, train your team on how to use them, and mentor you to best serve and delight your customers. My certifications include: QuickBooks ProAdvisor, Microsoft Office Specialist Master, and OntraPort Certified Consultant. Please contact me on my new website 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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