How to Select Multiple Items from a Dropdown List in Excel

Selecting multiple items from a dropdown list in Excel without using VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) can seem tricky, but it’s definitely doable with a few simple steps. By creating a list with checkboxes, you can easily select multiple options that will then be displayed in a cell.

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Select Multiple Items from a Dropdown List in Excel Without VBA

Before we dive into the step-by-step process, let’s get an understanding of what we’re about to do. We will be creating a list with checkboxes, and as you check off each item, they will automatically be added to a cell in Excel.

Step 1: Insert a List Box

The first thing you need to do is insert a List Box (Form Control).

After selecting the List Box option from the Form Controls, click and drag on the Excel sheet to create the List Box where you want it.

Step 2: Format Control

Right-click on the List Box and select ‘Format Control’.

In the Format Control dialog box, go to the ‘Control’ tab, and link the List Box to a range of cells with the items you want to select.

Step 3: Enable Multi-Selection

Within the same Format Control dialog box, ensure that the ‘Multi-selection’ option is enabled.

This will allow you to select more than one item from the list.

Step 4: Create a Linked Cell

Create a linked cell that will display the selected items.

The linked cell will show the index numbers of the selected items, separated by commas.

Step 5: Use a Formula to Display Selected Items

Use a formula like TEXTJOIN or CONCATENATE to convert the index numbers into the actual item names.

This formula will take the index numbers from the linked cell and match them to the corresponding item names in your list, displaying them in a single cell.

After completing the steps above, you’ll have a functioning multi-select dropdown list without the need for VBA. This will allow you to select multiple options from a list that will be displayed neatly in a cell.

Tips for Selecting Multiple Items from a Dropdown List in Excel Without VBA

  • Ensure that the list of items you want to include in the dropdown is well-defined and that each item is in a separate cell.
  • Use named ranges to make your formulas easier to understand and manage.
  • Remember that the index numbers in the linked cell start at 1, so ensure your list corresponds correctly.
  • If you have a long list of items, consider adding a scrollbar to your List Box for easier navigation.
  • Test your dropdown thoroughly to make sure all items can be selected and are displaying correctly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can the selected items be displayed in different cells instead of just one?

Yes, you can use additional formulas to split the index numbers and display each selected item in separate cells.

What if I want to remove an item from the selection?

Simply uncheck the item from the List Box, and it will be removed from the linked cell and the display cell.

Is there a limit to how many items I can select?

No, as long as multi-selection is enabled, you can select as many items as you have in your list.

Can I use this method for a dropdown list with hundreds of items?

Yes, but for better performance and usability, consider adding a scrollbar to the List Box and using named ranges in your formulas.

How can I customize the appearance of the List Box?

Right-click on the List Box, choose ‘Format Control’, and navigate to the ‘Properties’ tab to adjust the font, color, and other settings.


  1. Insert a List Box
  2. Format Control
  3. Enable Multi-Selection
  4. Create a Linked Cell
  5. Use a Formula to Display Selected Items


Selecting multiple items from a dropdown list in Excel without VBA might seem like a daunting task at first, but with the right approach, it’s quite straightforward. By following the steps outlined in this article, you should be able to set up a multi-select dropdown that will enhance the functionality of your Excel sheets. Keep in mind the tips provided to make the process smoother, and don’t hesitate to refer back to the frequently asked questions if you run into any issues. Remember, Excel is a powerful tool, and mastering these little tricks will enable you to work more efficiently and effectively. So go ahead, give it a try, and watch your Excel skills grow!