The Select data type allows you to set the possible options for a cell, column, or range of cells. Select data types act like drop-down lists, are useful when you frequently repeat a similar alphanumeric entry (for instance, "High," "Medium," and "Low") or for when you wish to restrict your users to a set of select options.
As an example, if you were using Spreadsheet.com for bug tracking, you might frequently repeat the priority options: High, Medium, and Low. You might even wish to restrict requests to those options so that no one can make up an option for a bug like "Medium-Low," or write "This is the most important bug in the world, you must fix it now." Select data types also allow you to set background colors for each select option, making them unique from other data types, and highly customizable.
How to set up a Select data type
To set a column, cell, or range of cells to a select data type, right click the desired column, cell, or range and select “Edit data type…” from the dropdown to open the update dialog. Next, select “Select” from the Type options list to open the select options dialog.
Here, you can name the column, specify whether or not the inputs are strict, and select the source of your select options. List of options allows you to manually input the select options within the dialog. Range of cells allows you to designate the select options as the values contained in a contiguous range of cells. Named range allows you to designate the select options as the values contained in a defined named range.
Once you've setup the Select data type and set the options, users 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 black X. For instance: .
Users with Owner or Manager permissions will also have the ability to Add options in cells. When typing in a currently non-existent option, users have the ability to Add Option, for instance in a select list of animals, typing "Dog" generates a call to .
Note: With the Select data type, users are only able to select one option. If you'd like them to have the option to select more than one, please see our article on the Multiselect Data Type.
Converting Existing Data to 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 instance, in the animation below, cells containing "High", "Medium", and "Low" are converted to Select, turning these into options in the select list and assigning existing cells to those options.
Like all other data types (except Automatic), you can enable Strict cells or columns for the Select data type. Setting cells as Strict will ensure that cells contain only the options you've chosen, and no other data.
Note: When converting data to Select, choosing Strict will empty any cells containing data that does not match your select options. Of course, you can always revert by clicking undo in the toolbar or with the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Z (CMD + Z for Mac users).
One unique property of Select data types is the ability to set different colors for each option, useful for quickly visualizing your data. Like we did in the animation directly above. To change the assigned color for an option, right click on the cell, column, or range of cells that the select list appears in, and select Edit data type...
From the dialog box that opens, first make sure the color option is checked in the select update column menu:.
Then you can click on the paintbrush next to each option, for instance: . Clicking on the paintbrush will open a selection window like the following:
Sorting, Rearranging, and Deleting Options
You can also sort your options by clicking the Sort button in the update data type dialog box to sort either alphabetically or numerically (depending on your option names). Or you can rearrange the sort manually, by dragging and dropping options via the sort selector (next to each option name). You can also delete options via the X to the right of the option name .
Note: 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.
If you want a select list that allows users to choose multiple options at the same time then check out our article on Multiselect data types. Or check out our introduction to data types for a list of all available data types.