A combo box - also known as a dropdown control - allows selecting an input from a list of options. In this guide, we’re going to show you how to insert a combo box in Excel.

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Please note that this is a guide to insert a form control combo box which is an individual object in Excel. If you are interested in a dropdown embedded in a cell, please check out How to create a dropdown list in Excel.

Developer Tab and Combo Box Command

The command for adding option buttons can be found under the Developer tab, which is not active in Excel by default. This tab contains macro tools along with other advanced controls, such as a combo box.

If the ''Developer'' tab is missing, follow the steps below:

  1. Open Excel Options under File.
  2. Select Customize Ribbon.
  3. Find and mark the checkbox for Developer in the list box on the right.
  4. Click the OK button to see the tab in the Ribbon

Inserting a Combo Box

Once the Developer tab is visible, you can find the Option Button command under the Insert button in the Controls section. When you click on the Insert button, you will see the same controls under two sections:

  • Form Controls
  • ActiveX Controls

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Clicking the Combo box button changes the cursor into a plus. Click anywhere on the worksheet, hold and drag the cursor to define the size of the combo box. If you just click and release, Excel places a big arrow without value indicator.

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Populating Items in A List Box and Binding to a Cell

  1. You need to enter the list items into a one-column range.
  2. Right-click on your list box.
  3. Select Format Control.
  4. Activate the Control
  5. Select list items for Input range.
  6. Enter or select a cell by using Cell link.
  7. (Optional) Set the number of items you want to see in the combo box. If the item count is more, there will be a scroll bar.
  8. Click OK to apply.
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After completing the setup, you can see the index of the selected item in the cell.

Multiplying Combo Boxes

Our second tip is about populating multiple combo boxes quickly. You can drag and drop a combo box multiple times. However, you need to fit the combo box into a cell first.

  1. Use the circles around to adjust its size.
  2. Once the combo box is in a cell, select the cell.
  3. Copy it down to by using tiny square on the bottom right, like copying cells.

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