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Excel 2019: Dependent Validation using Dynamic Arrays

October 02, 2019 - by Bill Jelen

Excel Dependent Validation Using Dynamic Arrays. Photo Credit: Siebe Warmoeskerken at

The Data Validation feature lets you choose from a dropdown list in Excel. It works great until someone wants to have two lists. The items in the second list are dependent on what is chosen in the first list. This is called dependent validation.

In the figure below, the items for the first dropdown list appear in D4#, thanks to =SORT(UNIQUE(B4:B23)). The validation in H3 points to =D4#. The list for the second validation appears in E4# because of the formula =SORT(FILTER(A4:A23,B4:B23=H3,"Choose Class First")). The validation in H5 uses =E4#.

The product database in A4:B23 lists products and classes. A UNIQUE formula in D4 gets the UNIQUE of class. The person using the worksheet choose from a validation dropdown in H3. The source of that first validation uses the Spiller notation of =D4#. Once they have chosed a Class, then E4 gets a list of matching products with =SORT(FILTER(A4:A23,B4:B23=H3,"Choose Class First")). A second validation drop-down for Product is in H5. The source for that list is =E4#.

Title Photo: Siebe Warmoeskerken at

Bill Jelen is the author / co-author of
Microsoft Excel 2019 Pivot Table Data Crunching

Use Excel 2019 pivot tables and pivot charts to produce powerful, dynamic reports in minutes instead of hours, to take control of your data and your business. Even if you’ve never created a pivot table before, this book will help you leverage all their remarkable flexibility and analytical power–including valuable improvements in Excel 2019 and Excel in Office 365.