Dependent Data Validation

Excel’s Dynamic Edge 🚀: Supercharge with INDIRECT! 💡

🔍 Discover the power of Excel’s INDIRECT function! In this blog, we’ll explore how to create dynamic and dependent data validation using INDIRECT. Watch as your spreadsheets come alive, adapting and responding to your input like never before. 🚀 Get ready to level up your Excel skills

Indirect function

The INDIRECT function in Excel returns a valid cell reference from a provided text string. INDIRECT is useful when you wish to assemble a text value that can be used as a valid reference.


=INDIRECT(ref_text, [a1])

Ref_text: This is the text string containing the cell reference or named range you want to use.

[a1] (optional): Specifies the reference style. If omitted, Excel assumes the default A1 style


The dataset features Harmony University’s teaching staff information, including their personal details, roles, academic areas, departments, and salaries. This dataset serves as a practical illustration for implementing dependent data validation, which is crucial for educational institutions.

Data Validation: For the “Category” column, we’ll enable data validation to ensure that only set categories (Arts, Engineering, Medicine) can be selected.

Dependent Data Validation: We’ll implement dependent data validation for the “Department” column, with accessible options dynamically adjusting based on the selected category.

You can name each category by using the name of a department by using the define name feature in Excel.

Let’s set up dependent data validation for the ‘Department’ column. Simply access the data validation feature and apply the INDIRECT function. As shown above.

The INDIRECT function in data validation uses cell G3, which contains categories like ‘Arts’ and ‘Engineering,’ each linked to a department’s name. Through a named range, it adjusts according to the category column, showing how the INDIRECT function works in dependent data validation.


In the realm of Excel’s dynamic potential, the INDIRECT function is your secret weapon for creating responsive data validation. As your spreadsheets come alive, adapting to your input seamlessly, you’ve harnessed the dynamic edge of Excel. It’s a game-changer that ensures only the right choices for ‘Category’ lead to the perfect ‘Department,’ all without the fuss of manual updates. With the INDIRECT function, your Excel mastery just reached new heights!

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