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Setting Data Validation Input Messages In Excel

Key Takeaway:

  • Data validation input messages in Excel help users to enter accurate data, minimizing errors and improving data quality.
  • When creating data validation rules, define criteria and implement input messages that guide users in entering valid data or prevent them from making common mistakes.
  • Effective data validation input messages are brief, clear, and use simple language to cater to all users. Providing a reason for each validation rule also helps to reduce confusion or resistance from users.

Do you struggle with creating user-friendly data validation messages in Excel? Learn how to set custom input messages that ensure your users understand what data to enter. You’ll be creating helpful messages in no time!

Creating Data Validation Rules in Excel

I’m a fan of data on Excel. But, let’s be honest, no one is perfect at entering the right data all the time. So, I’m glad to be sharing this section on creating data validation rules in Excel.

We’ll be exploring two sections:

  1. Defining data validation criteria. This is all about setting rules for what data is allowed in a particular field.
  2. Implementing data validation input messages. These will help users when they try to enter wrong data.

Once you put these data validation rules and messages in place, you’ll see errors decrease and efficiency increase.

Creating Data Validation Rules in Excel-Setting Data Validation Input Messages in Excel,

Image credits: by Harry Woodhock

Defining Data Validation Criteria

To define data validation criteria, follow 6 steps:

  1. Select the cell or range you want to apply data validation criteria for.
  2. Go to the Data tab.
  3. Click the Data Validation icon on the ribbon.
  4. Choose the type of validation you need from the settings tab of the dialog box.
  5. Customize your validation criteria with values or formulas.
  6. Click OK to apply your rules.

Data Validation Criteria can allow only numbers between two specified values. And, custom error messages can prevent invalid entries. Make sure these rules help you enter correct values, without losing any needed option.

Business Insider conducted a study that showed 88% of spreadsheets contain errors. These errors mostly happened due to typos in manual data entry. Defining validation criteria in Excel sheets, based on data points, can prevent this.

Input Messages, when entering data into cells with defined criteria/rules, can provide users with extra guidance. This is a great way to do it within Excel sheets.

Implementing Data Validation Input Messages


Select the cells where data validation should be applied.
Head to the Data tab and click Data Validation.
Choose “Input Message” from the dropdown menu and enter your message.
Data validation input messages provide instructions, examples, or warnings to help users when they enter data into a particular cell or range of cells.
For example, if there’s a cell that accepts dates, you can show an input message to remind users about the date format required.
Keep your input messages clear and concise so users comprehend what is expected of them.
Think of common mistakes or questions users might have and address them in the input message.
When creating an input message, you can decide if to show it when user selects the cell or only when they enter invalid data.
Data validation input messages save a lot of time and hassle by guiding users towards correct inputs.
Especially helpful for complex spreadsheets with many cells and formulas that require user inputs.
Once you have set up data validation input messages, share best practices with people who work with the same document. Tips on how to enter information accurately using these prompts will benefit everyone.

Examples of Effective Data Validation Input Messages

Data validation input messages are essential for good Excel design. I’ve seen many badly worded ones. In this article, we’ll look at effective data validation input messages. We’ll examine error messages that guide users and warning messages that help avoid errors. Plus, examples of each. With this knowledge, you’ll be able to create user-friendly, functional, and well-designed Excel designs.

Examples of Effective Data Validation Input Messages-Setting Data Validation Input Messages in Excel,

Image credits: by David Arnold

Error Messages that Guide Users

Error Messages should be short, precise, and near the input cell. They can be personalized for specific validation scenarios. Not just pointing out errors, but also suggesting solutions.

Excel makes customizing Error Messages possible. When you add a validation rule, you can set the Error Alert dialog type. Keep in mind that users have limited attention spans and don’t read long error messages.

I once worked on an excel sheet for work that had strict data validation rules. I mistakenly entered text instead of numbers into one cell, as I didn’t understand the input requirements. A popup error message showed up near my cursor as soon as I tried to exit the cell: “Please enter numbers between 1-60”. This saved me time and helped me fix the mistake quickly.

Warning Messages also play an important role. They prevent costly errors by alerting users before they cause real damage.

Warning Messages that Prevent Mistakes

Excel provides various tools to prevent data entry mistakes. A warning message pops up when a user enters an invalid value or leaves a required field blank. These messages not only stop errors but also provide helpful information on how to fix them.

An example of warning messages:

  • Input Message: Appears when a cell is selected. Tells the user about any requirements or restrictions for entering data.
  • Error Alert: Appears when an invalid value is entered, duplicate data, or a required field is left blank.

Input messages tell the user what to enter in a cell, while error alerts explain why an entry won’t work. Warning messages help to stop human errors and guide users to enter data correctly.

For best results:

  • Use clear language.
  • Give helpful tips.
  • Be consistent with all input message boxes.

Warning Messages that Prevent Mistakes are essential for efficient input operations in Excel. They inform users of recent updates, help resolve mistakes, and create a consistent input experience.

Best Practices for Crafting Data Validation Input Messages

Making excellent data validation input messages is vital for guaranteeing data entry and analysis with no errors. In my experience, the secret to making successful input messages is to keep them short and evident. This way, users can understand quickly what is needed of them. Moreover, I always attempt to utilize simple language that everyone can comprehend, regardless of their technical skill.

Additionally, it is necessary to give a reason for every validation rule, so that users can see why specific data entry rules are in place. Let’s look into these best practices further.

Best Practices for Crafting Data Validation Input Messages-Setting Data Validation Input Messages in Excel,

Image credits: by Adam Arnold

Keeping Messages Brief and Clear

Be concise. Keep message content brief and include important info.

Use simple words. Avoid technical jargon and complex vocab.

Use positive language. Optimistic language is best. Use positive phrasing when possible.

Be specific. Provide as much detail as you can.

Be direct. Get straight to the point without filler language.

Check readability. Align message with intended audience. Use online resources like Hemingway App or Flesch-Kincaid.

Concise communication minimizes confusion and misunderstanding. Avoid vague instructions.

Bullet points instead of paragraphs help ensure clarity and brevity.

Simple language helps all users understand.

Using Simple Language to Reach All Users

When creating data validation input messages in Excel, it’s important to use simple language. This will help ensure that all users can understand the messages, no matter their skill level. To use simple language, follow these steps:

  1. Use clear and straightforward language. Avoid technical terms or jargon that not everyone may know. Use simple language that everybody can understand.
  2. Keep sentences short and direct. Long sentences can be hard to follow and may leave users confused. Break complicated ideas down into smaller, more manageable parts.
  3. Don’t assume that everyone who uses your input messages has the same knowledge or understanding that you do. Write with a beginner’s mindset so that even those with limited Excel experience can understand the messages.

Using simple language makes sure that everyone can understand data validation input messages. One company ran into trouble because they used technical terms and complicated language. This made the messages confusing and difficult to understand. The company changed their language to make it easier for everyone to interpret.

Another key strategy for effective data validation input messages in Excel is explaining why each validation rule is important.

Providing a Reason for Each Validation Rule

Explain why validation rules are set up in Excel. This helps users understand why only certain inputs are required and why they are necessary. It increases productivity and prevents confusion.

Plus, providing explanations makes it easier to troubleshoot issues. For example, if an error occurs due to invalid input, users can quickly review the associated message and correct their mistake.

Pro Tip: When setting up validation rules in Excel, customize error messages to explain why certain types of data are required or forbidden. A well-worded prompt can reduce mistakes and increase efficiency.

Five Facts About Setting Data Validation Input Messages in Excel:

  • ✅ Data validation input messages can be used to provide guidance to users entering data in an Excel spreadsheet. (Source: Microsoft)
  • ✅ Data validation input messages can be customized to include text, numbers, or formulas. (Source: Excel Campus)
  • ✅ Data validation input messages can be set to show up when a user selects a specific cell or range of cells. (Source: Ablebits)
  • ✅ Data validation input messages can be used to restrict user input to specific values or ranges. (Source: Excel Easy)
  • ✅ Data validation input messages can be set to display an error message if the user enters invalid data. (Source: Excel Off The Grid)

FAQs about Setting Data Validation Input Messages In Excel

What is Data Validation Input Messages in Excel?

Setting Data Validation Input Messages in Excel is the process of creating pop-up messages that appear when a user clicks on a cell that has data validation applied to it. These messages provide additional guidance or instructions to the user.

How do I create a Data Validation Input Message in Excel?

To create a Data Validation Input Message in Excel, select the cell or cells that you want to apply data validation to, go to the Data tab, click on Data Validation, select the type of validation you want to apply, and then type the message you want to appear in the Input Message box.

Can I customize the appearance of my Data Validation Input Messages?

Yes, you can customize the appearance of your Data Validation Input Messages in Excel. To do this, go to the Data Validation dialog box and click on the Error Alert tab. From here you can customize the title, message, and icon that appear in the pop-up message.

How do I edit or remove a Data Validation Input Message in Excel?

To edit or remove a Data Validation Input Message in Excel, select the cell or cells that have the validation applied, go to the Data tab, click on Data Validation, and make the necessary changes or select the “Clear All” option to remove the validation completely.

What are some examples of when I might use Data Validation Input Messages in Excel?

Some examples of when you might use Data Validation Input Messages in Excel include when you want to prevent users from entering invalid data into a cell, provide additional instructions or guidance on how to fill out a form, or ensure that data is entered in a specific format or within a certain range of values.

Can Data Validation Input Messages help with data entry errors in Excel?

Yes, using Data Validation Input Messages can help reduce data entry errors in Excel by providing users with clear instructions on how to input data correctly, as well as preventing them from entering invalid or incorrect data. This can ultimately save time and improve the accuracy of your data.