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Drop Down List Too Wide

Occasionally, a cell's drop down list becomes much wider than the column. Here are a couple of tips for trying to fix the problem, and a sample file that shows a wide list.

drop down list too wide

List Width Problem

The problem of wide drop down lists seems random, but I was able to duplicate the problem in a couple of files.

In most cases:

  • the worksheet had other cells with data validation in the same row
  • all dropdowns became the width of the widest dropdown.
  • one of the data validation lists is in a merged cell.

However, the problem is sporadic -- sometimes the dropdown lists are the correct width when the file is opened. Next time, they're at the maximum width.

I first saw this problem reported in the excel.programming newsgroup, by Cindy Winegarden, FoxPro MVP.

drop down list too wide

Attempt to Fix

In some workbooks, I've had success in resizing the dropdown width with these steps:

  • delete any columns that contain merged cells with data validation
  • resize all the columns
  • save and close the file.

Sometimes though, those steps didn't work, and I was not able to change the lists back to their normal width.

Another Suggested Fix

Thanks to Corinne, from Digits Web Design & Branding, who suggested the following steps, that fixed the drop down width problem in her workbook:

  • Select all the cells in the worksheet
  • On the Excel Ribbon, go to the Home tab
  • In the Alignment group, click the Left alignment button
  • Click the Left alignment button again, to turn that setting off.

Sample File

To download a zipped sample file that shows the problem, click here: DataValWidth.zip

Related Links

Data Validation Basics

Data Validation Tips

Data Validation Troubleshooting

Dependent Drop Down Lists

Data Validation With Combo Box




Last updated: November 2, 2022 3:36 PM