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Can drop-down menus in Excel include shortcuts to quickly find items?

Posted on 2011-09-17
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
Hello,

Once a drop-down menu has been created (Data > Data Validation) in Excel (2010), is there a way to enable quick access to items in the list by entering the first letter, etc?

For example, suppose that your Data Validation source references the range $A$1:$A$1200 which contains 1000+ names.  With that many items present in the drop-down menu, it can take quite a bit of time to scroll down to the desired item.  

As a shortcut, some lists are designed so that entering a letter in the alphabet causes the list to "jump" to the section of items beginning with that letter.  A familiar example of that is the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) customization screen.  If the setting to show All Commands is selected, the list includes over 1200 options.  However, pressing the key for any letter instantly moves you to the corresponding section of the list.

Therefore, my question is whether or not that capability is available or possible in Excel drop-down menus.

Thanks
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Question by:Steve_Brady
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3 Comments
 
LVL 50

Assisted Solution

by:Ingeborg Hawighorst (Microsoft MVP / EE MVE)
Ingeborg Hawighorst (Microsoft MVP / EE MVE) earned 100 total points
ID: 36555242
Hello Steve,

unfortunately, data validation drop-downs do not have the type ahead feature. Also, with a data validation list you are limited to 1000 entries (or somewhere around that figure).

You can use an Active X combobox, though, which needs to be positioned exactly on top of the cell. Handling the combobox requires some VBA code.

The Contextures site has some good tutorials, although the screenshots there are for 2003. The principles still apply, though.

http://www.contextures.com/xlDataVal11.html

In Excel 2010 you must ensure to select the right combobox type: Developer > Insert > use the Combobox in the ActiveX panel.

Also, pay attention to the Design Mode button. When highlighted, you can change the properties of the combobox. To be able to enter data, you must switch Design Mode off.


cheers, teylyn
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LVL 42

Accepted Solution

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dlmille earned 400 total points
ID: 36555417
Steve - I believe I mentioned my Dynamic_DV! add-in article in the last day or two.  Using this, you can have the features you're looking for.

http:/A_6429.html.  You might recall, a few months back, a posting from you was actually the inspiration for this article.

See attached example with a ~ 250 word list (sorry, I just grabbed a current list at hand, but this will work for lists > 1000 as well - in fact it works with very long ) - click into the data validation range and try it out.

Just download the sample file, and the Dynamic_DV! add-in to a trusted location.  Then, pull up the sample, and then pull up the Dynamic_DV! addin.

After BOTH files are loaded (the Dynamic_DV! add-in does the magic), select the grey cell in the sample file - that's a data validation range which is set to a ranged name, called "Countries".

Click the drop down arrow to see a sorted list of the countries.  Then, start typing - e.g., "Sing" and you'll notice "Singapore" comes to the top of the list.

I think this is the type of capability you're looking for.

Let me know how it works for you!

Cheers,

Dave
sample-using-Dynamic-DV.xlsx
Dynamic-DV---DV-list-addin.xls
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Author Closing Comment

by:Steve_Brady
ID: 36567898
Thanks for the responses.  That article is great and much help, Dave!
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