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Show Data Validation Messages

Data Validation Messages

With the options available in data validation, you can display messages to give instructions to the people who use your spreadsheet.

An Input Message can be displayed when a cell is selected.

input message

An Error Alert can be displayed if invalid data is entered in a cell.

error alert

Video: Create an Input or Error Message

To see the steps for creating an input message and an error message, watch this short video tutorial. The written instructions are below the video.

Create an Input Message

To help people know what data should be entered in a cell, you can set up an Input Message that is displayed when the cell is selected.

input message

Follow these steps to show a short message when a cell is selected.

  1. Select the cells in which you want to apply data validation
  2. On the Ribbon, click the Data tab, and click Data Validation
  3. (optional) On the Settings tab, choose the data validation settings
  4. Click on the Input Message tab, and add a check mark to Show input message when cell is selected
  5. input message on

  6. Type your message heading text in the Title box. This text will appear in bold print at the top of the message.
  7. Type a short message in the Input message box. The limit is 256 characters
  8. input message and title

  9. Click OK or follow the steps below to add an Error Alert.
  10. Now, when you click on the cell, the Input Message will appear.

    input message

Create an Error Alert

When you add data validation to a cell, the Error Alert feature is automatically turned on. It blocks the users from entering invalid data in the cell.

You can turn Error Alert off, to allow people to enter invalid data. Or, change the type of Error Alert, by following the instructions below.

  1. Select the cells in which you want to apply data validation
  2. On the Ribbon, click the Data tab, and click Data Validation
  3. On the Settings tab, choose the data validation settings
  4. Click on the Error Alert tab, and add a check mark to Show error alert after invalid data is entered .
  5. Choose an Error Alert Style from the dropdown list.
    • Stop: This prevents the entry of invalid data.
      If the Retry button is clicked, the invalid entry is highlighted, and can be overtyped.
      If the Cancel button is clicked, the invalid entry is deleted, and the cell's original content is restored.
      The user cannot leave the invalid entry in the cell
    • Warning: This discourages the entry of invalid data.
      If the Yes button is clicked, the invalid entry is accepted, and the next cell is selected.
      If the No button is clicked, the invalid entry is highlighted, and can be overtyped.
      If the Cancel button is clicked, the invalid entry is deleted, and the cell's original content is restored.
      The user can choose to leave the invalid entry in the cell.

    • Information: This announces the entry of invalid data.
      If the OK button is clicked, the invalid entry is accepted, and the next cell is selected.
      If the Cancel button is clicked, the invalid entry is deleted, and the cell's original content is restored.
      The user can choose to leave the invalid entry in the cell.

  6. Type your message heading text in the Title box. This text will appear in bold print at the top of the message.
  7. Type a short message in the Error message box. The limit is 256 characters
  8. Click OK

Turn Error Alert Off

You can turn Error Alert off, to allow people to enter invalid data. For example, if the data validation cell contains a dropdown list, turn off the Error Alert to allow users to type items that are not in the list.

To turn off Error Alert:

  1. Select the cells in which you want to turn off Error Alert
  2. On the Ribbon, click the Data tab, and click Data Validation
  3. Click on the Error Alert tab, and remove the check mark from Show error alert after invalid data is entered

turn off error alert

Download the Sample File

Download a zipped Excel file with the data validation message examples.

 

Here's how to update your reports of company and nearly any web data:

Excel Tutorials - Data Validation

   

Data Validation Basics
Data Validation - Create Dependent Lists
Data Validation - Dependent Dropdowns from a Sorted List  
Data Validation - Dependent Lists With INDEX  
Hide Previously Used Items in a Dropdown List
Data Validation - Display Messages to the User
Data Validation - Display Input Messages in a Text Box 
Data Validation - Use a List from Another Workbook
Data Validation Criteria Examples
Data Validation Custom Criteria Examples
Data Validation Tips
Data Validation Documentation
Data Validation Combo Box     
Data Validation Combo Box - Named Ranges
Data Validation Combo Box -- Click
Data Validation - Add New Items  

 

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