How to use Data Validation

Learn how to use data validation in your Google spreadsheets

Vitor Mazon avatar
Written by Vitor Mazon
Updated over a week ago

What is Data Validation?

Whenever you need your Data to be consistently accurate, you may want to use Data Validation.

Let’s take a look at a spreadsheet that we have on our Invoice Generator template:


In this spreadsheet, columns D and J are using Data Validation to make sure that the information inputted falls under the values the spreadsheet is expecting so the data stays as clean as possible. Let’s look at use cases for the methods we mentioned above.

Specify a Range

When you specify a range for using your Data Validation, you are defining that any values within the range are options for use in data entry for your spreadsheet. You can set this up by selecting Data on the Google Sheets menu followed by Data Validation.


On the far right-hand side of your screen, a new window will appear. In this new screen, click on + Add Rule


Afterward, you will see a range of options. Here is how each works.


  1. Apply to range shows what range this data validation is affecting.

  2. Criteria determine the values that can be considered valid data to be inputted into the cell.

  3. This area shows the configuration of the criteria. If it is a dropdown like the example above, it will give you options for the dropdown menu that comes up after selecting the cell.

  4. Advanced Options shows more customization and configuration options for your data validation.

After you define the values, your configuration should look like this:


If you select a color by clicking on the circle to the left of each option, you can automatically paint that cell of the specified color when that option is selected.

Now, whenever someone inputs data, the spreadsheet will show a drop-down menu with the allowed values.

Whenever someone inputs data, the spreadsheet will show a drop-down menu with the allowed values.


There are multiple Data Validation options and they are all incredibly powerful tools to make sure your data is clean and accurate.


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