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Data Validation Criteria Examples

Use Data Validation to allow specific entries in cells on a worksheet. For example, show a list, limit the cells to whole numbers, or text of specific length. This tutorial shows the available settings, with an example of each setting.

Whole Number

If you allow Whole numbers, you can set or exclude a range of numbers, or specify a minimum number or maximum number.

To set the allowed values, you can

  1. Type the values into the Data Validation dialog box, OR
  2. Refer to cells on the worksheet, OR
  3. Use formulas to set the values. For example, in the screen shot shown here, the MAX and MIN functions are used to set the minimum and maximum values.

data validation criteria 01

Decimal

If you allow Decimals, you can set or exclude a range of numbers, or specify a minimum number or maximum number.

  1. Type values into the Data Validation dialog box, OR
  2. Refer to cells on the worksheet, OR
  3. Use formulas to set the values

data validation criteria 02

List

You can create a drop down list of items to select in a cell, or group of cells. See the examples and instructions here: Data Validation

list of options for drop down

Date

If you allow Dates, you can set or exclude a range of dates, or specify a minimum date or maximum date.

  1. Type the dates into the Data Validation dialog box, OR
  2. Refer to cells that contain dates on the worksheet, OR
  3. Use formulas to set the dates

See more Date Rule examples

Date Video

To see the steps for creating data validation for a date range, please watch this short video tutorial. The written instructions are below the video.

Create Date Range Validation

To set up date validation, you can enter a start and end date on the worksheet. In this example, the start and end dates are entered in cells E1 and E2.

Next, follow these steps to set up the data validation:

  1. Select the cells where the data validation will be applied - cells B2:B6 in this example.
  2. On the Excel Ribbon, click the Data tab, and click Data Validation
  3. From the Allow drop down, select Date
  4. From the Data drop down, select Between
  5. Click in the Start Date box, and click cell E1, where the Start Date is entered.
  6. Press the F4 key, to change the cell reference to an absolute reference -- $E$1
  7. Click in the End Date box, and click cell E2, where the End Date is entered.
  8. Press the F4 key, to change the cell reference to an absolute reference -- $E$2
  9. Click OK, to close the Data Validation window.

date range

Use a Date Formula

Instead of entering dates on the worksheet, you could use a formula to set the start and end dates. With the following formula, the date range will automatically adjust, based on the current date.

Follow these steps, to allow dates from 60 days before the current date, to 60 days after the current date.

  1. Select the cell where you want the data validation applied
  2. On the Ribbon, click the Data tab, then click Data Validation
  3. From the Allow drop down, select Date
  4. In the Data drop down, select one of the operators, such as Greater Than, or Between
  5. Depending on the operator you selected, Start Date and/or End Date boxes will appear
  6. Type a formula in the Start Date and/or End Date boxes, using the TODAY function. For example,
  7. To set the earliest start date allowed as 60 days prior to the current date:

    =TODAY()-60

    To set the latest start date allowed as 60 days after the current date:

    =TODAY()+60

  8. (optional) Add an Input Message, to explain the data validation rule when the cell is selected
  9. (optional) Change the Error Alert setting, so it shows a message, or warns users about invalid data.
  10. Click OK, to close the dialog box.

restrict date range based on current date

Time

If you allow Times, you can set or exclude a range of numbers, or specify a minimum number or maximum number.

  1. Type the times into the Data Validation dialog box, OR
  2. Refer to cells that contain times on the worksheet, OR
  3. Use formulas to set the times

The TIME formula in this example uses the current time as an end time, so all entries have to be before the current time:

=TIME(HOUR(NOW()),MINUTE(NOW()),SECOND(NOW()))

data validation criteria 04

Text Length

If you allow Text length, you can set or exclude a range of lengths, or specify a minimum number or maximum length.

  1. Type the textlength into the Data Validation dialog box, OR
  2. Refer to cells that contain a value on the worksheet, OR
  3. Use formulas to set the text length

data validation criteria 05

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Last updated: August 31, 2017 1:26 PM
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