Bottom Line: Learn how to create a dropdown list in Excel. This wil make it easier to categorize transactions for a budget.
Skill Level: Beginner
Watch the Tutorial
Download the Excel Files
I've included both the BEFORE and AFTER files from the video.
This post is the third in a series that improves both the form and function of a simple budget.
Today's post will cover how to create dropdown lists, also known as data validation lists.
Making a Dropdown List
Why should we outfit our budget with dropdown lists? Because it reduces the errors in inputting categories. It also gives you control over what and how many categories there are.
Without dropdowns, users have to manually type categories, which means there's a chance there will be typos and misspellings. Once it's time to pull reports, those misspelled words can appear as their own categories instead of being added into the correct categories. Dropdown lists help to prevent such errors.
I've already outlined in detail the process for making dropdowns in another tutorial, so go ahead and hop on over to this link to learn how: How to Create Drop-down Lists in Cells – Data Validation Lists.
That post also gives tips on how to quickly select from a dropdown list, search a dropdown list, and handle input errors.
One skill that really helps with creating dropdown lists (and hundreds of other tasks) is mastering Excel Tables. If you are interested in learning more about Excel Tables, use this tutorial:
Next up in our Budget Makeover is how to freeze panes so that you can always see column headers or other selected cells while navigating a large spreadsheet.