# Data validation exists in list

=COUNTIF(list,A1)>0

*Note: Excel has a built-in data validation rules for dropdown lists. This page explains how to create a your own validation rule for lists when you don't want the dropdown behavior.*

To allow only values from a list in a cell, you can use data validation with a custom formula based on the COUNTIF function.

In the example shown, the data validation applied to C5:C9 is:

=COUNTIF(colors,C5)>0

Data validation rules are triggered when a user adds or changes a cell value.

In this case, the COUNTIF function is part of an expression that returns TRUE when a value exists in a specified range or list, and FALSE if not.

The COUNTIF function simply counts occurrences of the value in the list. Any count greater than zero will pass validation.

*Note: Cell references in data validation formulas are relative to the upper left cell in the range selected when the validation rule is defined, in this case C5.*

## Excel Formula Training

Formulas are the key to getting things done in Excel. In this accelerated training, you'll learn how to use formulas to manipulate text, work with dates and times, lookup values with VLOOKUP and INDEX & MATCH, count and sum with criteria, dynamically rank values, and create dynamic ranges. You'll also learn how to troubleshoot, trace errors, and fix problems. Instant access. See details here.

## Download 200+ Excel Shortcuts

Get over 200 Excel shortcuts for Windows and Mac in one handy PDF.