List boxes are form controls that allow you to see all options at once. You can set a list box to force the user select only one option or allow multiple selections. In this guide, we’re going to show you how to insert a list box in Excel.

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Developer Tab and List Box command

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

If the tab is hidden, follow the steps below.

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

Inserting a list box

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

  • Form Controls
  • ActiveX Controls

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Clicking the List Box button changes the cursor to a plus. Click anywhere to insert a default list box, or hold and drag the cursor to define the list box size.

Populate items in a list box and bind to a cell

  1. You need enter list items into a one-column range.
  2. Right-click on your list box.
  3. Select Format Control.
  4. Activate the Control tab.
  5. Select list items for Input Range.
  6. Enter or select a cell by using Cell link
  7. Set Selection type to Single.
  8. Click OK to apply.

After binding, click on a list box to see the index of the selected list box in the cell.

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By default, Excel assumes all list boxes in a worksheet are related with each other. To gather list boxes into multiple groups, you need to combine them under Group Boxes. You can bind each list box in different groups to different cells. This is necessary for using multiple questions within the same worksheet.

Selection type

List box form control in Excel gives you 3 alternative use cases:

  • Single
  • Multi
  • Extend

The Single mode is the default approach, which only allows selecting one item. Also, the index of the selected item is displayed in the linked cell.

In Multi type, you can select multiple items by clicking on them. For example, if the first item is selected and you click the second, both items become selected. However, the linked cell does not express the selected items.

Extend mode is an alternative to Multi. When Extend is selected, you need to use either Ctrl or Shift keys to select multiple items. Once again, the linked cell does not express the selected items.