2 Ways to Color Code Dropdown Lists in Google Sheets

Do you want to color code your dropdown lists?

Google Sheets is a powerful tool that allows you to create and manage spreadsheets online. One helpful feature of Google Sheets is the ability to create dropdown lists, which makes the process of data entry more efficient and reduces the chances of errors.

Another feature especially useful in Google Sheets is the ability to color code cells, which comes in handy when you want to identify valuable information.

With these two features, you can create color-coded dropdown lists in Google Sheets. This can be especially helpful when working with substantial amounts of data.

This post will provide a step-by-step guide on how you can create color code dropdown lists in Google Sheets.

Create Colour Coded Dropdown List with Data Validation Colour Options

The first step when creating a color-coded dropdown list is to create a dropdown list. When creating the dropdown list, the data validation tool has features that allow you to add colors to the dropdown options.

To create a color-coded dropdown list using the data validation color option, follow these steps.

  1. Select the range where you want to add the dropdown list.
  1. From the top menu, click on Data and select Data validation.
  1. In the Data validation rules window that’s now open on the right side of your window, click on Add rule.
  1. Set the dropdown criteria.
  1. Set the drop-down color using the color icon beside the dropdown option.

After adding the data validation and you select from the options, you can see the colors added to the options.

When you follow these steps, you would have created a color-coded dropdown.

Create a Colour-coded Dropdown List using Conditional Formatting

Another way you can create a color-coded dropdown list is to apply conditional formatting to the dropdown list.

To do this, follow these steps.

  1. Repeat steps 1 to 4 in the previous section to create the dropdown list.
  2. Select the range containing the dropdown list. Then click on Format from the top menu and select Conditional formatting.
  1. At this point, the Conditional format rules window will open on the right side. In the Single color tab of the window, go to the Format rules section and set the Format cells if condition to the Text is exactly option. Use the Fill color option to add color to the rule.
  1. Click on the Add another rule button and repeat the process in the previous step for the Incomplete dropdown option. Use the color yellow as the fill color.
  1. Do the same thing in step 4 for the Incomplete dropdown. Use the color red as the fill color.

When you’re done with these steps, you would have created a color-coded dropdown list.


Color-coding dropdown lists in Google Sheets can be an effective way to visually organize your data and improve the readability of your spreadsheet.

By assigning different colors to specific categories or values, you can quickly identify patterns and trends, prioritize tasks, and make informed decisions.

The process of creating a color-coded dropdown list in Google Sheets is simple and can be done in just a few steps. In addition to this, you can customize the color-coded dropdown list to fit your specific needs.

With this tool at your disposal, you can create more efficient and visually appealing spreadsheets that make your data more accessible and actionable.

Do you think you’ll find this helpful? Let me know in the comment section!

About the Author

Oluwaseun Olatoye

Oluwaseun Olatoye

Oluwaseun is a business intelligence analyst with expertise in Google Sheets and SQL programming language. He has worked with various businesses to make data-driven decisions. He enjoys helping others learn and grow.

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