The Multiselect data type allows you to set the possible options for a cell, column, or range of cells.
Multiselect data types act like drop-down lists and are useful when you frequently repeat similar alphanumeric entries or for when you wish to restrict your users to a set of options.
For example, if you were using Spreadsheet.com for bug tracking, you might have a column to note where the bug is visible to the public, and might frequently repeat the options "Web Browsers," "Mobile Browsers," and "Mobile App." Setting these as options in a Multiselect data type would allow your users to choose from them, selecting multiple options if the bug appears in multiple places. You might even wish to restrict requests to those options so that no one can misunderstand this selection and type that the bug is visible "when I log in" or "on my screen." Multiselect data types also allow you to set background colors for each option, making them highly customizable.
Like all other data types (except Automatic), you can enable Strict cells or columns for the Multiselect data type. Setting cells as Strict will ensure that cells contain only the options you've chosen, and no other data.
When converting data to Multiselect, choosing Strict will empty any cells containing data that does not match your select options. If needed, you can revert changes by clicking Undo in the top left toolbar or with the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Z (CMD + Z for Mac users).
From the Source field, you can select the source of your multiselect options. List of options allows you to manually input the multiselect options within the dialog. Range of cells allows you to designate the multiselect options as the values contained in a contiguous range of cells. Named range allows you to designate the multiselect options as the values contained in a defined named range.
The Options field is where you can manage available multiselect options. Click on the name of a multiselect option to rename it, or click the paintbrush icon to the right of the option to change its color. Delete an option by clicking the x icon to the right of its name, or click + New option at the bottom of the list to define a new multiselect option.
You can also sort your options by clicking the Sort button in the options list to sort either alphabetically or numerically, depending on your option names. Or you can rearrange the sort manually, by dragging and dropping options with the drag handles to the left of each option. Changing the order of multiselect options will change the order in which the options appear in cells where multiple are selected.
Editing the name of the option will change the data in cells currently assigned that option. For instance, changing the name of the option "High" in the animation above to "Urgent" would change all cells that are currently marked as "High" to "Urgent" instead.
How to Use Multiselect Options
Once you've configured the Multiselect data type and defined the options, you can either type an option into a cell or choose from the option drop-down list.
To remove a selected option from a cell, simply delete or click on the option in the cell and select the x icon to the right of the option name.
If you have Owner or Manager permissions, you can also define new options directly from within a Select cell. Type in a currently non-existent option and click + Add [name] option from the dropdown. The text in that cell will be converted into a new option that can be chosen in any of the other Multiselect cells.
With the Multiselect data type, you can select multiple options at once. To learn about restricting cells to a single option at once, see our article on the Select data type.
If you are converting existing data to a Select data type, existing cell entries will appear as separate options in your select list. For example, if you are converting a Text column with the entries "High", "Medium", and "Low" to a Multiselect column, the converted column will have the multiselect options "High", "Medium", and "Low". Entries separated by a comma will become separate options in your list of multiselect options.
You can edit these options as you would edit options in a newly created Multiselect column, described above.