How to Create Dynamical DropDown List and Sort by Alphabetical Order in Excel
In our daily work we may need to create a dynamical dropdown list and sort all values by alphabetical order. To create a dropdown list like this, we need to apply some builtin features like ‘Define Name’ and ‘Data Validation’ features, and we also need the help of formula which is combined with excel functions. It sounds complex, but through this tutorial we will introduce you the way to create dynamical dropdown list clearly, we will show you the details by steps, you can follow each step to complete all operations and reach your goal finally.
Precondition:
Prepare a list full of different fruits. We may also add new fruits into the list. Now we want to create a dynamical dropdown list and sort fruits by alphabetically order.
Method: Create Dynamical DropDown List and Sort Alphabetically
Step 1: Select this fruit list and click Formulas in ribbon, and select Define Name under Defined Names group.
Step 2: In New Name dialog, enter Name as ‘List’, keep Scope unchanged, enter formula =OFFSET(Sheet1!$A$1, 0, 0, COUNTA(Sheet1!$A$1:$A$1001)) into Refers to. Then click OK. Please notice that in this formula ‘Sheet1’ is current sheet name, $A$1 is the first cell of your selected data.
Step 3: Create sheet2, in A1 enter the formula =IF(COUNTA(List)>=ROWS($A$1:A1), INDEX(List, MATCH(SMALL(COUNTIF(List, “<“&List), ROW(A1)), COUNTIF(List, “<“&List), 0)), “”). In this formula, ‘List’ is defined name in last step.
Step 4: As above formula is an array formula, so press Ctrl+Shift+Enter to get value.
We get the first fruit ‘Apple’ from original table.
Step 5: Drag the fill handle down till blank cell displays.
Note:
If you are confused about above formula and cannot apply it correctly in your work with your instance, you can directly copy the whole list from sheet1 to sheet2, and then sort them by A>Z. Then when you adding new parameters into sheet1 original list, you have to copy this list into sheet2 and sort again.
Step 6: Click Formulas in ribbon, and select Define Name under Defined Names group. Enter ‘SortList’ as Name, enter =Sheet2!$A$1:$A$20 into Refers to. Then click OK. Please notice that as we create a dynamically dropdown list, so we can add new parameters into the list without limit, in this instance we set ‘Refer to’ range $A$1:$A$20, so only the first 20 cells in A column can be listed in dropdown list. You can change the reference per your demand.
Step 7: Select C2 to locate dropdown list. Click Data>Data Validation under Data Tools group to create data validation.
Step 8: In Data Validation window, under Settings tab, under Allow dropdown list select ‘List’; Enter =SortList in Source. Then click OK.
Step 9: Verify that dropdown list is created. Values are sorted by alphabetical order properly.
Step 10: Add a new fruit ‘Longan’ into sheet1 original list. You can see that it is added into sheet2 list automatically with proper order, and it is also displayed in dropdown list properly.
Sheet1: Sheet2: Dropdown list:
Related Functions

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