How to Make a Dynamic Data Validation List Using VBA in Excel (3 Steps)

Step 1 – Create a Dynamic Name Range

  • Go to the Formulas tab and select Name Manager.

name manager

As a result, a Name Manager window will appear.

  • Click on New in the Name Manager window.

name manager

Now, a new window named New Name will appear.

  • Enter a name for the list in the Name box. I’ve inserted the name States.
  • Enter the following formula in the Refers to box:
=OFFSET('Data Validation'!$F$5,0,0,COUNTA('Data Validation'!$F:$F)-1)

The formula will create a dynamic cell reference for the name States. If you insert any new entry in column F, the name States will be automatically assigned to the entry.

  • Click OK.

new name

As a result, the name States will be added to the Name Manager.

  • Click Close in the Name Manager window.

excel vba dynamic data validation list


Step 2 – Add Data Validation

  • Select the cells where you want to add data validation.
  • Go to Data > Data Tools > Data Validation > Data Validation.

data validation

As a result, the Data Validation window will appear. Now,

  • From the Allow box, select List, and from the Source box, select the list from column F.
  • Click OK.

data validation

As a result, data validation will be added to the selected cells. If you click the downward arrow beside the cells of column B, a dropdown list will appear. Here, you will see the names of the states in the list in column F.

excel vba dynamic data validation list

If you enter a new entry in column F (Here, I’ve entered Indiana) and click on the downward arrows beside the cells of column B, you will see that the new entry doesn’t show up in the dropdown list.

excel vba dynamic data validation list

This is happening because your data validation list is not dynamic. To automatically update new entries, you will need to make the list dynamic. You can do that with a simple VBA code, which I’ll show you in the next step.

Read More: How to Create Dynamic Drop Down List Using VBA in Excel


Step 3 – Make the Data Validation List Dynamic with VBA

  •  Right-click on the sheet name

As a result, a menu will appear.

  • Select View Code from this menu.

excel vba dynamic data validation list

As a result, the Code window of the VBA will be opened.

  • Enter the following code in this window:
Private Sub Worksheet_Change(ByVal Target As Range)

Dim ListRow As Single
Dim CString As String
Dim Value As Variant
If Not Intersect(Target, Range("$C:$D")) Is Nothing _
Or Not Intersect(Target, Range("F:F")) Is Nothing Then
    ListRow = ActiveSheet.Range("B" & Rows.Count).End(xlUp).Row
    For Each Value In Range("States")
        CString = CString & "," & Value
    Next Value
    With ActiveSheet.Range("B5:B" & ListRow).Validation
        .Delete
        .Add Type:=xlValidateList, AlertStyle:=xlValidAlertStop, Operator:= _
        xlBetween, Formula1:=CString
        .IgnoreBlank = True
        .InCellDropdown = True
        .InputTitle = ""
        .ErrorTitle = ""
        .InputMessage = ""
        .ErrorMessage = ""
        .ShowInput = True
        .ShowError = True
    End With
End If

End Sub

The code will change the worksheet in a way that when you insert a new entry in column F,  and if there is data in columns C and D of a row, the new entry will be automatically updated in the data validation list of column B of that row.

excel vba dynamic data validation list

 

  • Close the VBA window.

If you click on the downward arrows beside the cells of column B, you will see that the new entry, Indiana, is currently showing in the dropdown list.

excel vba dynamic data validation list

If you add another entry in column F (Nevada), it will be automatically added to the data validation list.

excel vba dynamic data validation list

  • Select the data from column F in column B from the dropdown list. If you need to insert new data, you can add it to column F.

As a result, the data will automatically appear in the dropdown list. For Example, in cell B15, insert the state name Kentucky, which is not listed in column F.

  • Insert the name Kentucky in column F.

You will see the name in the dropdown list when you click on the downward arrow beside cell B15.

excel vba dynamic data validation list

If you want to remove any names from the dropdown list,

  •  Delete the name from column F.

The name will be automatically removed from the dropdown list.

excel vba dynamic data validation list

Read More: VBA to Select Value from Drop Down List in Excel


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Prantick Bala
Prantick Bala

PRANTICK BALA is a marine engineer who loves exploring Excel and VBA programming. Programming, to him, is a time-saving tool for efficiently managing data, files, and internet tasks. He is proficient in Rhino3D, Maxsurf, C++, MS Office, AutoCAD, Excel, and VBA and goes beyond the basics. Armed with a B.Sc in Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering from BUET, he has transitioned into the role of a content developer. Beyond his work, find him immersed in books, exploring new... Read Full Bio

9 Comments
  1. im trying to apply this process to a worksheet with multiple sheets:

    I have an information template sheet that has my lists for the drop downs and would like to add the drop down to the schedule sheet…

    Private Sub Worksheet_Change(ByVal Target As Range)
    Dim st As Worksheet
    Set st = ThisWorkbook.Sheets(“Schedule Template”)
    Dim ListRow As Single
    Dim CString As String
    Dim Value As Variant
    If Not Intersect(Target, st.Range(“$B:$C”)) Is Nothing _
    Or Not Intersect(Target, st.Range(“e:e”)) Is Nothing Then
    ListRow = st.Range(“B” & Rows.Count).End(xlUp).Row
    For Each Value In Range(“ClassLocations”)
    CString = CString & “,” & Value
    Next Value
    With st.Range(“E14:E” & ListRow).Validation
    .Delete
    .Add Type:=xlValidateList, AlertStyle:=xlValidAlertStop, Operator:= _
    xlBetween, Formula1:=CString
    .IgnoreBlank = True
    .InCellDropdown = True
    .InputTitle = “”
    .ErrorTitle = “”
    .InputMessage = “”
    .ErrorMessage = “”
    .ShowInput = True
    .ShowError = True
    End With
    End If

    End Sub

    this is throwing errors

    • Hello, Red!
      In the 10th line, there is a correction.
      For Each Value In st.Range(“ClassLocations”)
      Try this!
      And make sure you are writing the code in a Module.

  2. Hi there, nice tutorials. But I’m having a devil of a time with it. Using the above download it won’t update the dropdowns in B when I add or remove a State in F. And I am able to add a state in row 15 even if C are empty. I have the latest version of Excel – Office 365

    • Reply Avatar photo
      Naimul Hasan Arif Jan 18, 2023 at 11:43 AM

      Thank you very much CHARLES DARWALL for your comment. The replies to your 2 problems is  mentioned below:
      In my case, the VBA works quite fine. Here, I have Kentucky as the last member in the States List column which is also the last member in the drop-down in cell B13.

      Now, I have removed Kentucky as the last value in the States List column. So, Nevada is now the last value in the States List column which is also the last value in the drop-down.

      After that, I have added Washington D.C. as the latest last member which has also been updated automatically in cell B12.

      On the topic of your second question about being able to add a state in row 15 even if C is empty is because I have selected the range B5:B15 to add the drop-down list with the values in States List.

      data validation

  3. Thanks Naimul (or Arif, apologies), your solution worked perfectly and explanation very clear. Thank you for that.

    I have a different question for you regarding the list in column F. What if those names include a comma such as “Doe, John”. My Excel setting (and those of colleagues) reads the comma as a separator. Because of this the drop-down displays Doe and John into sparate selection values. I cannot change Excel settings to use ; as separator.

    Here the code snippet from above:

    Dim CString As String

    For Each Value In Range(“States”)
    CString = CString & “,” & Value
    Next Value

    I even tried to force replacement of the comma to make it “Doe; John”, with no joy:

    nameText = nameText & Replace(nameText, “;”, “,”) & “,”
    Next Value

    Thanks so much!!

    Charles

    • Reply Avatar photo
      Naimul Hasan Arif Jan 23, 2023 at 2:54 PM

      Thanks for your appreciation. It means a lot.
      To solve your problem, I will suggest you to change your separator from Control Panel. I hope it’ll solve the separator problem.

  4. That would work for me but it won’t work for others – the file is on a sharepoint in a large conpany.

    Thanks

  5. Hi, What if the code look like if my list is in Sheet1 and the Dropdown is in Sheet2?

    • Thank you, WAFEE for reaching out. If your validation list is in a separate sheet, then you need to modify the code in the following way. Follow the steps below.
      • First, open a new module and insert the following code in the module.
      A VBA Code for Dynamic Data Validation

      
      Sub Update_DataValidation()
          Dim sourceSheet As Worksheet
          Dim targetSheet As Worksheet
          Dim sourceRange As Range
          Dim targetRange As Range
          Dim lastRow As Long
          
          ' Set the source and target sheets
          Set sourceSheet = Worksheets("Sheet1") ' Change to your source sheet name
          Set targetSheet = Worksheets("Sheet2") ' Change to your target sheet name
          
          ' Find the last row in the source list, assuming the list is in column B
          lastRow = sourceSheet.Cells(sourceSheet.Rows.Count, "B").End(xlUp).Row
          ' Define the source range
          Set sourceRange = sourceSheet.Range("B3:B" & lastRow) ' Assuming data starts from B3
          
          ' Define the target range for data validation, assuming the target range starts at B5
          Set targetRange = targetSheet.Range("B5:B" & targetSheet.Cells(targetSheet.Rows.Count, "B").End(xlUp).Row + 1)
          
          ' Clear existing data validation in the target range
          targetRange.Validation.Delete
          
          ' Create a dynamic data validation formula
          Dim formula As String
          formula = "=" & sourceSheet.Name & "!" & sourceRange.Address
          
          ' Apply data validation to the target range
          With targetRange.Validation
              .Add Type:=xlValidateList, AlertStyle:=xlValidAlertStop, Operator:= _
              xlBetween, Formula1:=formula
              .IgnoreBlank = True
              .InCellDropdown = True
              .ShowInput = True
              .ShowError = True
          End With
      End Sub
      

      • Next, you need to paste the following event driven code in both Sheet1 and Sheet2 modules.
      VBA Code for Calling a Subroutine to Make Dynamic Data Validation

      
      Private Sub Worksheet_Change(ByVal Target As Range)
      If Not Intersect(Target, Range("$B:$B")) Is Nothing Then
      Call Update_DataValidation
      End If
      End Sub
      

      • The above code will call the Update_DataValidation subroutine whenever you change anything to the B column of the respective sheet. Consequently, the Update_DataValidation subroutine will update the validation options.
      • For example, I have my source list in column B of Sheet1 starting from B3.
      Source Worksheet
      • On the other hand, we want to validate column B, starting from cell B5 in Sheet2.
      Target Worksheet
      • Now, I add another state to the source list (for example New York).
      Adding Value in the Source List
      5-Adding Value in the Source List
      • As soon as I make change in the list, the Update_DataValidation will run in the background. As a result, I also find New York in the validation list in Sheet2.
      New Item added in the Validation List
      6-New Item Added in the Validation List

      I hope, the codes and example will be helpful to you.

      Regards
      Aniruddah

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