The select control (also known as a dropdown) is commonly used to enable users to select an item from a predefined list.
For more information on which selection control to choose, see the selection control overview.
Use select if:
- Users need to select one item exclusively from a short list of options (for example, fewer than 12 items).
- The values of the option list are of secondary importance and do not need to be displayed right away.
Do not use select if:
- Users need to choose between two options, such as On or Off and Yes or No. In this case, consider using a switch control instead.
- Users need to pick one item from a very large set of options. In this case, consider using the combo box instead.
- You need to display more than one attribute. In this case, consider using the input field with a select dialog or a value help dialog instead.
- The user needs to search on multiple attributes. In this case, consider using the input field with select dialog or value help dialog instead.
- Your use case requires all available options to be displayed right away, without any user interaction. In this case, consider using radio buttons or a radio button group instead.
The display of the select control depends on the device. On smartphones, the selection list takes up the whole screen. On desktop and tablet devices, it appears as a popover.
The trigger to open the option list is either the Select field (1), which also displays the current selection, or an icon (3).
The option list (2) displays all the items available to the user. The selection is always highlighted. Selecting another option from the list moves the highlight to the selected option.
Full Screen Title Bar for Size S
Opening the select control on a smartphone brings up the option list in full screen mode. The full screen mode can be closed using the icon on the top right corner (5).
You need to set a title for the full screen mode (4). We recommend the following format:
Example: Select Product
Example: Select Products
Behavior and Interaction
The Select field always displays the current selection. The user clicks or taps the field to display a list of options to choose from. Once the user selects an option, the list box closes and the selected option is displayed in the field. If there is no Select field but an icon, the user clicks the icon to open the list of options. The currently selected item is always highlighted in the list to help the user identify what has been selected.
The option list can contain either text-only values (a) or text values with an icon in front (b). Keep the text values as short as possible because the list uses single lines only. Values that are too long may be truncated. This is especially important when you use icons.
Only use icons if they help users better identify or understand the presented options. To set icons, use the
icon property for each list entry.
If you need to indicate that none of the selection options are selected, or you need to allow the user not to select an option, provide (None) (1) as an option and place it at the beginning of the list.
If you need to indicate that all items apply, for example, as a list filter, provide All as an option and place it at the beginning of the list.
If your use case requires a blank input field instead of (None), use a combo box instead.
If the select control is placed in a toolbar with an icon as a trigger for sorting, grouping or filtering a set of items, consider the following guideline:
Sort, Group, and Filter:
- (Not sorted)
Note: In most cases, this option is not necessary; just show the default sort settings instead.
- (Not filtered)
- (Not grouped)
For more information about the toolbar, see toolbar overview.
Define a default selection whenever possible (2). If the selected item is not specified, the first one is selected.
The select control can be displayed with or without a label. If the field is attached to another field, you do not need to define a second label.
The sort option list contains all the items that are available to the user. Choose one of the following styles to order the content:
Logical: Sort items into a meaningful order. Group related options together and show the most common options first, followed by less common options. Sort the options alphabetically if more than eight select options are available. This helps the user find the right option quickly.
You can adjust the width of the option list to some extent. The width of the select control is set to Auto by default, while the maximum width is set to 100%. The option list adapts its length to the longest entry by default.
The select control is usually used in forms, where the width is determined by the form element or container in which the select control is embedded. Therefore, we do not recommend defining a fixed width, but rather working with proper layout containers, like the form, simple form, or responsive grid layout, and with the layout data property, where the width is defined.
If you need to restrict the width to a defined value, set the width accordingly.
Do not allow the control to auto-adjust based on the selection.
Keep in mind that there is no horizontal scrolling in the option list. Entries in the list that are too long are truncated and users will not be able to read them.
Different value states or meanings can be indicated by using semantic colors. The visual states are shown below in their regular state (left) and focused (right). Note that the positive/success state does not show a message on focus.
For more details on the correct usage, see How To Use Semantic Colors.
Value State Text
The select control can display the value state text even if the dropdown is open. This ensures that the value states are shown in all situations and on all devices. When the user opens the dropdown, the value state sticks to the top and does not scroll away. The control also supports multi-line text for the value state.
The select control can be displayed as read-only (property:
editable, default = “true”). If the
editable property is set to “false”, interaction with the control is disabled. The control remains focusable, but the background and border are changed to indicate that it is read-only.