Although Excel comes with a wide variety of standard features for managing and analyzing data, the boundaries of these features are often frustrating. The hacks in this chapter provide numerous ways in which you can escape these boundaries and make Excel a much more powerful tool.
Data validation makes it easy to specify rules your data must follow. Unfortunately, Excel insists that lists used in data validation must appear on the same worksheet as the data being validated. Fortunately, there are ways to evade this requirement.
This hack provides two methods you can use to validate data based on a list on another worksheet. The first method takes advantage of Excel’s named ranges (which are covered in more detail in Chapter 3), and the second uses a function call.
Perhaps the easiest and quickest way to overcome Excel’s data-validation barrier is by naming the range where the list resides. To create a named range, select the cells containing the list and enter a name in the Name box that appears at the left end of the Formula bar. For the purposes of this example, we will assume your range is called MyRange.
Select the cell in which you want the drop-down list to appear and then, under the Data tab select Data Tools → Data → Validation (pre-2007, Data → Validation). ...