Author: Oscar Cronquist Article last updated on January 05, 2019

This article describes how to create a drop-down list populated with sorted values from A to Z. The sorted list is dynamic and it adds new values as you type them. The picture below shows a list containing some random values.

First we need to build a cell reference that expands when we add values to the list, named ranges allow us to do that.

However, if you own Excel 2007 or a later version I highly recommend using an Excel defined table instead.

It has a built-in dynamic cell reference system, named structured referencing.

Create a dynamic named range "List"

The following instructions tells you how to build an automatically expanding cell range.

  1. Press with left mouse button on "Formulas" tab
  2. Press with left mouse button on "Name Manager"
  3. Press with left mouse button on "New..."
  4. Type a name. I named it "List". (See attached file at the end of this post)
  5. Type
    =OFFSET(Sheet1!$A$1, 0, 0, COUNTA(Sheet1!$A$1:$A$1001))

    in  "Refers to:" field.

  6. Press with left mouse button on "Close" button

Want to learn more about named ranges? Read this:

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Create a dynamic list sorted from A to Z

  1. Select Sheet2
  2. Select cell A1
  3. Type
    =IF(COUNTA(List)>=ROWS($A$2:A2), INDEX(List, MATCH(SMALL(COUNTIF(List, "<"&List), ROW(A1)), COUNTIF(List, "<"&List), 0)), "") + CTRL + SHIFT + ENTER
  4. Copy cell A2 and paste it down as far as needed.

This article explains how to extract a unique distinct list sorted alphabetically:

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You can even use a condition if you prefer, read more here:

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Create a dynamic named range "SortedValues"

  1. Press with left mouse button on "Formulas" tab
  2. Press with left mouse button on "Name Manager"
  3. Press with left mouse button on "New..."
  4. Type a name. I named it "SortedValues". (See attached file at the end of this post)
  5. Type
    =OFFSET(Sheet2!$A$1, 0, 0, COUNTA(Sheet2!$A$1:$A$1001))

    in  "Refers to:" field.

  6. Press with left mouse button on "Close" button

Learn more about the function OFFSET function:

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How to create a drop down list containing dynamic values

  1. Press with left mouse button on Data tab
  2. Press with left mouse button on Data validation button
  3. Press with left mouse button on "Data validation..."
  4. Select List in the "Allow:" window. See picture below.
  5. Type
    =SortedValues

    in the "Source:" window

  6. Press with left mouse button on OK!

If you are using an excel defined table, read this:

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