Cant click on drop down arrow

Copper Contributor


I am using Excel 2010 and I have created a data validation cell based on list of values from a set of given values.  I am now unable to click on the arrow.  I have checked that the in-cell drop down is enabled.


What could have gone wrong.  It worked originally until I opened up a copy sent by a team member.  Now I am unable to click on the down arrow in the cell.  I can see the arrow but when I click on it, it did not bring up the list but instead moved on to the next cell.


Please advise




19 Replies


It works OK for me. Does the problem persist if you quit, then restart Excel?



Excel 2010:
File -> Options -> Advanced-> Group: Show options for this workbook: -> Show objects as: Select "All".

Then the dropdown functions will be back. :)

Ps. Recommend to do an Office update. As far as I can remember, that was an old bug which was actually fixed with a patch in the service pack ... even in 2010. Better safe than sorry, update.


I would be happy to know if I could help.



I know I don't know anything (Socrates)


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@NikolinoDE HI Nikolino,


Sorry, in the Advance Option, there is no Group so I couldnt do what you suggested.  And I mistook, my version is not 2010 but 2019 ;) 


I ran an update, logoff and relogin but problem still exists.  


I wonder if I delete the software and reload with the code, will that work?





Yes it does.  I also ran an update.  However, I mistook the version, It is 2019 instead of 2010.  





If the workbook is currently open, close it.

Right-click the .xlsx file in File Explorer.

Select Properties from the context menu.

Is there an 'Unblock' check box? If so, tick this check box.

Click OK.

Does that help?

I am having the same problem, and have ruled out all the potential causes in all available help documentation. This appears to be a system bug, from it's inconsistent behavior on my machine, in unrelated files and different data validation source types.
Microsoft makes it so impossible to report bugs, that we all are wasting hours trying to get to the bottom of what is probably a known issue 🤦‍:female_sign:


So with me I can open it, as Mr. Hans Vogelaar also describes it.

You might be lucky with this correction instruction.


How to show drop down list’s disappeared arrows again in Excel?

In some cases, the arrow of drop down list disappears because the option called In-cell dropdown is not checked.

  1. Select the drop down list cells and click Data > Data Validation.
  2. In the Data Validation dialog, under Settings tab, go to check In-cell dropdown option.
  3. Clock OK to close dialog, and you can see the arrow of drop down list has been shown.


If all of this does not work out, make a Windows update and an Office update to be on the safe side. If this doesn't work either, then ... halleluia, uninstall and reinstall the office package.

Hope it doesn't come to that and be lucky with the correction instructions.

I had a similar issue. I had an external monitor (85" screen) connected as an extended monitor. With the Excel spreadsheet on this screen, the cursor stayed as a cross when hovering over the drop down list. When I moved the spreadsheet to my laptop screen, the cursor changed to a pointer when hovering over the drop down list.
best response confirmed by Grahmfs13 (Microsoft)
@noahwass FYI I think I found the cause (for my case anyway): if you have multiple displays and they are at different screen resolutions (external monitor at 100%, laptop at 120%), the dropdowns and other Excel features will not work properly on the display that is not set to 100%.

@SaraBaeten Yes, I can confirm this. I have two screens on a MacBook: a retina screen (dropdowns are working, also on other settings than 100%) and a non-retina screen (dropdowns persistenly not working). Thanks for helping me to find this out, it was driving me crazy.  


Go in options>> Advanced>> Editing Options>>Enable fill handle and Cell drag and drop (3rd Entry)


Click on the same and you will be able to do drag and drop.


I was able to solve this by moving my Excel file to larger monitor. Here's what I did:

1) close the file with the problem (it was displayed on my laptop monitor)

2) close Excel

3) open Excel in a different display (I opened on a large 2nd monitor)

4) open the file

5) the dropdown now worked


Still doesn't work for me if I move the file back to the small monitor...


This is what I found to be the problem for me too.

I had this problem, I am using two external monitors and my laptop monitor.  I tried many of the different approaches mentioned here, all my settings were correct.  I had very limited success opening up old versions, but as soon as I saved or updated my data, the dropdown would no longer drop down. 


I eventually closed the several excel windows I had open, then opened up the same file from File Explorer and the dropdowns were working again.  This was all on the same external monitor, I never tried playing around with display settings. 


Windows 11

Just had same problem, reopened an excel file from a few months back, resaved with a new name, then tried to use the existing drop downs referencing data in named range and the arrows stopped working. I was working on the file on my secondary (larger monitor) display. Reading your post I moved the window to my MacBook Air display and the data validation arrows now work. Strange.

@AMayo1001 Awesome! That does in fact work for me. Can't explain why, but moving the Excel file to the 2nd screen solved the issue. Now that I read (and do) this, I recall having seen this solve some other issue a year or two ago. A good thing to try with future hard to solve Excel "bugs".



Old post, but this was extremely helpful for an issue I had encountered!


Not sure when the setting changed for me, but this certainly resolved the frustrating issue I had with drop-downs. 


For later Excel version Office 365 reference, the navigation is as follows:


File > Advanced:

Under the "Display options for this workbook" sub-header there is the option "For objects, show:" 

Select "All"


Thanks again! 

Thanks for your feedback, I'm glad you found a solution and are posting it here.
I wish you continued success with Excel!

This was an awesome discovery. I did not find the answer until I continued reading.
Mine was working until it wasn't. I realized after read that I had zoomed the workbook. Putting the zoom back to 100%, changing monitors, close/open, copy workbook, clear validation,... nothing worked. Did not find until I got to this post where to find the appropriate section. Question remains, why did it get changed from All to Nothing? Thanks Trahllah.

1 best response

Accepted Solutions
best response confirmed by Grahmfs13 (Microsoft)
@noahwass FYI I think I found the cause (for my case anyway): if you have multiple displays and they are at different screen resolutions (external monitor at 100%, laptop at 120%), the dropdowns and other Excel features will not work properly on the display that is not set to 100%.

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