How To Use Color Coding In Excel Drop Down

Drop down menus are quite common while working with Excel. One of our reader has this  requirement of  using color coding in excel drop down menu. Here is the exact requirement:

I have created a drop down menu in excel with three values – Critical, Major and Minor. I want to have different background colors along with the text when I select a particular value. For example when I choose Critical, background should be Red and text in cell should appear as Critical and so on.

We thought it would be a good idea to share the solution here for benefit of all our readers. Here is a step by step process to use color coding in excel drop down:

Step1: Create a drop down menu in excel by selecting a cell and selecting Data->Validation as shown in the image below:

Data Validation Excel

Step2: Select “List” in Allow drop down and give comma separated values of Critical, Major and Minor as shown in the image below:Data Validation List Excel

This is how the drop down menu should look like:

 Drop down menu in excel

Step3: Now, select the cell on which drop down is created and select Format->Conditional Formatting as shown in the image below:

Conditional Formatting in Excel

This will launch a window as shown below:

Conditional Formatting In Excel

Step4: Select the Conditions appropriately and it should look as below:

Color coding in excel dropdown

Step5: Now for each condition, click on “format” button present on right hand side under each condition. This will launch a window as shown below. Select “Pattern” tab and select appropriate color.

Format Cell background Color in Excel

When you a select a menu, this is how the drop down cell will look like.

Color Coding In Excel Dropdown

Hope you like the steps mentioned here. Feel free to let us know your suggestions and feedback.



    • Hi lokesh,

      Please explain what are you trying to achieve. It will be great if you could share sample files, we will try to help you out.


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