I have a spreadsheet that I need to add new data to but the previous user made it so that I can't add data in a new row without moving down a lot of data which would mess with all the calculations.

What I am trying to do is to make it so I can add the new data to the side instead and still have the same drop down access the two separate columns. I attached a screen cap of an example of what I want below.

I have tried everything I can think of and all my searches come back with putting multiple columns in a drop down instead of just the data from them.

As you can see below the example has data in D1 to D5 and F1 to F5. If I wanted the dropdown to have the data from those columns how would I do it?

EDIT: Just to clarify there is data between the columns in the actual page which is why I can't just highlight all of it.


  • @pnuts That could be a solution. If I cannot find a way to do what I am attempting I will likely do that.
    – Aaron
    May 20, 2014 at 15:12
  • @pnuts Actually that wouldn't work because the data that is already there has to remain where it is as well.
    – Aaron
    May 20, 2014 at 15:14
  • @pnuts There is a lot of calculations dependent on the data remaining where it is. I could go that route but I know I would miss changing a calculation somewhere. I am in chat if you want to talk further.
    – Aaron
    May 20, 2014 at 15:23
  • Hi Aaron, I've updated the code to cope with old and new sheets. Jun 3, 2014 at 13:45

2 Answers 2


With the below script you can build a validator from multiple ranges, in both old and new style Google Spreadsheets and you can select different sheets.


// create menu item
function onOpen() {
  createMenu('Validation', 'Add validation to active cell', 'myValidation');

// add validation to active cell
function myValidation() {
  var ss = SpreadsheetApp.getActive(), output = [];

  // create input box or prompt
  var int = getPrompt('How many ranges do you want to combine?', 'Add integer');

  // collect data
  output = getData(1);
  for(var i=1; i<int; i++) {
    output.push.apply(output, getData(i+1));

  // build validation
  var rule = SpreadsheetApp.newDataValidation()

// show prompt and retrieve the corresponding data
function getData(int) {
  var ss = SpreadsheetApp.getActive(), text, values;

  // create input box or prompt
  var text = getPrompt('Range like A1:A4 or Sheet1!A1:A4', 'Range ' + int).split('!');  

  // check if reference to other sheet is made  
  if(text.length > 1) {    
    values = ss.getSheetByName(text[0]).getRange(text[1]).getValues();
  } else {
    values = ss.getRange(text).getValues();

  // check for entries
  if(values[0].length > 1) {
    throw 'Only single columns are to be used';

  // return the data
  return values;    

function createMenu(menuName, itemName, funcName) {
  try {
      .createMenu(menuName).addItem(itemName, funcName).addToUi();
  } catch(e) {
      .addMenu(menuName, [{name: itemName, functionName: funcName}]);    

function getPrompt(title, header) {
  // create input box or prompt
  try {
    return SpreadsheetApp.getUi().prompt(title, header, app.ButtonSet.OK).getResponseText();
  } catch(e) {
    return Browser.inputBox(title, header, Browser.Buttons.OK);

// http://www.devcurry.com/2010/08/sort-numeric-array-in-javascript.html
function sortNumber(num1, num2) {
  return num1 - num2;


I've created an example file for you: validator from two ranges
Add the script under Tools>Script editor and press the bug button to activate the authentication.

  • The code works on the example doc you showed me but will not work on the document I am attempting to use. Each time it gives me the error "This operation is not supported (line 2, file "Code")" I can't see any reason it would not work but maybe I am missing something.
    – Aaron
    Jun 3, 2014 at 13:01
  • It works on newly created documents. It must be something about the sheet I am trying to use. There was no custom code on the sheet so it can't be variable name duplicates.
    – Aaron
    Jun 3, 2014 at 13:07
  • @Aaron That's most probably due to the fact that you use the old Google Spreadsheets.... Jun 3, 2014 at 13:11
  • Right. The spread sheet I have is in the old version. I have to find a way to copy the sheet into the new version without destroying the format and calculations which is proving to be impossible so far.
    – Aaron
    Jun 3, 2014 at 13:54
  • Oh you updated the code. Thank you very much it works now!
    – Aaron
    Jun 3, 2014 at 13:58

Make a helper-column somewhere, eg H1 = d1 .. h5=d5, h6=e1, ... h10=e5

And then just drive your drop-down contents from the helper column.

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