Data Validation Based on Another Cell in Excel & Google Sheets

Written by

Mel Jenkins

Reviewed by

Laura Tsitlidze

Last updated on August 16, 2022

This tutorial will demonstrate how to apply data validation so that data entry is only allowed based on the value of another cell in Excel and Google Sheets.


DataValidation Example


When entering values in Excel, you can restrict the data that is entered into any cells in a range based on text or a value held in another cell.

Custom Formula for Data Validation

Since the data validation rule is based on another cell, you need to use Data Validation with a custom formula.

  1. First, highlight the cells to include in the data validation range.


DataValidation Select Range


  1. In the Ribbon, select Data > Data Tools > Data Validation.


DataValidation Ribbon

  1. In the Allow drop-down box, select Custom, then remove the check from the Ignore blank check box. In the Formula box type:


DataValidation Settings


  1. Click OK.
    To test the validation, remove the word Allow from cell B2 and then try to type in one of the cells in the data validation range. An error will occur.


DataValidation Remove Allow


  1. However, if you type the word Allow in B2, and then type in any of the cells included in the data validation range, can enter any value or text into that range.


DataValidation Allow


Data Validation Based on Another Cell in Google Sheets

Data Validation based on another cell in Google Sheets works much the same as it does in Excel.

  1. In Google Sheets, highlight the cells to included in the restricted range and then in the Menu, select Data > Data validation.


DataValidation GS Menu


The Cell range is already selected.

  1. For the Criteria, select Custom formula is from the drop-down list, and then type the formula:


DataValidation GS Options


  1. Click the Reject Input button (so invalid data cannot be entered), and ensure that the Show validation help text check box is ticked. Click Save to save the data validation.
  2. Select any cell within the data validation range to type text into and test the validation. If you do not have the word Allow in cell B2 then and error will occur.


DataValidation GS Error


  1. Type the word Allow into B2 to allow entry into the data validation range of cells.


DataValidation GS Allow

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