Excel Custom Lists

Using lists in Excel can be very efficient. Just type the the first item in the list in a cell, such as “Jan” and then grab the fill handle and drag to the right to complete the rest of the months. These built-in lists (e.g., day-of-the-week, month-of-the year) cannot edited or deleted.

However, you can also create your own custom lists, and use them to sort or fill, especially when you find yourself entering the same sequence of name or labels each time you start an Excel worksheet. For example, if you want to sort or fill by the following lists, you need to create a custom list, because there is no natural order.

Custom list examples:

  • High, Medium, Low
  • Dr. Sure, Dr. Able, Dr. Bill, Dr. More
  • North, South, East, and West
  • Senior Sales Manager, Regional Sales Manager, Department Sales Manager, and Sales Representative

Note: A custom list can only contain text or text mixed with numbers. Numbers must be formatted as text.

There are two ways to create a custom list. If your custom list is short, you can type the values directly in the dialog box. If your custom list is long, you can import it from a range of cells (not shown here).

  1. Click the Microsoft Office Button, and then click [Excel Options].
  2. Click the [Popular] category, and then under Top options for working with Excel, click [Edit Custom Lists].
  3. In the Custom Lists box, click [NEW LIST], and then type the entries in the List entries box, beginning with the first entry. Press [ENTER] after each entry.
  4. When the list is complete, click [Add]. The items in the list that you selected are added to the Custom lists box.
  5. Click [OK] twice.
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