How to Implement HTML Select Multiple As a Dropdown

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By squashlabs, Last Updated: November 18, 2023

How to Implement HTML Select Multiple As a Dropdown

To implement the HTML select multiple as a dropdown, you can follow these steps:

Step 1: Create a basic HTML structure

Create a basic HTML structure for your dropdown. You can use the element to create a dropdown and add the multiple attribute to allow multiple selections.


  <!-- options go here -->

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Step 2: Add options to the dropdown

Inside the element, add elements to define the available options in the dropdown. Each element should have a value attribute to specify its value.


  Option 1
  Option 2
  Option 3

Step 3: Style the dropdown


  select[multiple] {
    height: auto;
    width: 200px;
    padding: 5px;
  }

Step 4: Handle the selected options

To handle the selected options in the dropdown, you can use JavaScript. You can listen for the change event on the element and retrieve the selected options using the selectedOptions property.


  const selectElement = document.querySelector('select[multiple]');
  selectElement.addEventListener('change', () => {
    const selectedOptions = Array.from(selectElement.selectedOptions).map(option => option.value);
    console.log(selectedOptions);
  });

In the above example, the selected options are logged to the console whenever the selection changes.

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Alternative approach using a custom dropdown

If you need more control over the appearance and behavior of the multiple select dropdown, you can also use a custom dropdown library or framework. There are several libraries available that provide more advanced features and customization options. Some popular ones include Select2, Chosen, and Bootstrap Select. These libraries allow you to enhance the default multiple select dropdown with features like search functionality, tagging, and custom styling.

Best Practices

Here are some best practices to consider when implementing an HTML select multiple as a dropdown:

– Provide clear labels for the options in the dropdown to make it easier for users to understand their choices.
– Use the size attribute to specify the number of visible options in the dropdown. This can help prevent the dropdown from taking up too much space on the page.
– Consider adding a “Select All” option if it makes sense for your use case. This can be useful when users need to select multiple options at once.
– Ensure that the selected options are visually distinguishable from the unselected options to provide clear feedback to the user.
– Test your implementation across different browsers and devices to ensure consistent behavior and appearance.

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