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Speed up data entry and validation with AutoComplete for dropdown lists

Feature deep dive
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Hey, Microsoft 365 Insiders! My name is Prash Shirolkar, and I’m a Product Manager on the Excel team. We’ve heard from many of you that you’d like the ability to use AutoComplete for dropdown lists to make data entry and validation faster and easier across platforms. We’re excited to announce that this capability that you love in Excel for Windows is now available in Excel for Android, iOS, and Mac!

Speed up data entry and validation with AutoComplete for dropdown lists

Entering data in Excel can be a slow and time-consuming task. Dropdown lists are one way to speed up this process, but scrolling through long lists is no fun either.  By enabling AutoComplete for dropdown lists, we’ve made it possible for Excel to automatically compare the text you type in a cell against all items in the list, then only display the items that match.

The feature’s algorithm can match text from anywhere in the list item—the start, the middle, or the end of the text string. The algorithm also automatically excludes blank items from the validation list.

With AutoComplete, you can fill forms and other types of content faster and more efficiently. You’ll spend less time scrolling through lists, dealing with data validation errors, or writing complex code to handle this task.

GIF showing how AutoComplete works when employing dropdown lists in Excel.
(Photos courtesy of NASA)

How it works

Ready to give AutoComplete for dropdown lists a try?

  1. Open a worksheet in Excel and create a dropdown list (see instructions).
  2. Enter text in a cell that matches one of the list items. Notice how the list updates as you type to show matching entries.
  3. Choose the entry you want in the list or press Enter to fill the cell.


The AutoComplete for dropdown lists feature is rolling out to Microsoft 365 Insiders running:

  • Android: Build 16.0.16816.10000 or later
  • iOS: Version 2.77 (Build 23090704) or later
  • Mac: Version 16.77 (Build 23091003) or later

Don’t have it yet? It’s probably us, not you.

Features are released over some time to ensure things are working smoothly. We highlight features that you may not have because they’re slowly releasing to larger numbers of Insiders. Sometimes we remove elements to further improve them based on your feedback. Though this is rare, we also reserve the option to pull a feature entirely out of the product, even if you, as an Insider, have had the opportunity to try it.


We hope you love this feature! To submit feedback about it, just click Help > Feedback in Excel.