Tip of the week # 604
11 May 2020

Enter text from a list of previous entries (Microsoft Excel) *

When you type text in a cell and the first couple of letters match an existing entry in that column, Excel tries to be helpful and automatically completes the value for you. If you don't like the feature you can switch it off or you can use Excel's little-known Pick From drop-down list feature. Or better still, keep your hands on the keyboard and use its shortcut.

Here's how:

  1. Select the cell where you want to enter the text.
  2. Press ALT + down arrow. (Or right-click and select Pick From Drop-down List.)
  3. Use your arrows and press ENTER to add the text. (Or use your mouse and click on the relevant entry.)

You can use this feature in an Excel table or in "normal" workbooks. You can even use the ALT + down arrow trick if you want to select entries from a drop-down list you created using Data Validation. Which makes me realise I've never written a tip about that. Watch this space!

Finally, if you cannot bear AutoComplete you can turn it off. Here's how:

  1. Select Options from the File tab.
  2. Type an A (or click on Advanced if you must).
  3. Under Editing options untick the Enable AutoComplete for cell values check box.
  4. Press ENTER (or click OK).

Related tips

  1. Autocomplete formulas including its open bracket - tip_545.php
  2. Quickly format and enable filtering of your data - tip_429.php


* Unless stated otherwise, these tips were written for Microsoft Office 2010.