<datalist>: The HTML Data List element

The HTML <datalist> element contains a set of <option> elements that represent the permissible or recommended options available to choose from within other controls.

Content categories Flow content, phrasing content.
Permitted content Either phrasing content or zero or more <option> elements.
Tag omission None, both the starting and ending tag are mandatory.
Permitted parents Any element that accepts phrasing content.
Implicit ARIA role listbox
Permitted ARIA roles No role permitted
DOM interface HTMLDataListElement

Attributes

This element has no other attributes than the global attributes, common to all elements.

Examples

Basic datalist

<label for="myBrowser">Choose a browser from this list:</label>
<input list="browsers" id="myBrowser" name="myBrowser" />
<datalist id="browsers">
  <option value="Chrome">
  <option value="Firefox">
  <option value="Internet Explorer">
  <option value="Opera">
  <option value="Safari">
  <option value="Microsoft Edge">
</datalist>

Result

Customizing datalist styles

The style of the list produced by a <datalist> element is platform-dependent, so if you want to customize the display of the options, you have to implement your own custom solution that overrides the default behavior. The below example provides a simple solution for this. Note how we haven't specified the <datalist> id inside the <input> list attribute in this case, as that stops the browser-specific display of the data list items from kicking in. Instead, we are setting the selected <datalist> value in the <input> via JavaScript.

Note: Since ::after is not permitted on <input> elements, if you want to reproduce the arrow-down icon you will have to wrap the <input> element in another element that you can hang the styling on (or some other suitable solution).

HTML

<input
  list=""
  name="option"
  id="input"
  autocomplete="off"
>

<datalist id="datalist">
  <option>Carrots</option>
  <option>Peas</option>
  <option>Beans</option>
</datalist>

CSS

datalist {
  position: absolute;
  background-color: lightgrey;
  font-family: sans-serif;
  font-size: 0.8rem;
}

option {
  background-color: #bbb;
  padding: 4px;
  margin-bottom: 1px;
  cursor: pointer;
}

JavaScript

input.onfocus = function () {
  datalist.style.display = 'block';
}

input.onblur = function () {
  datalist.style.display = 'none';
}

for (let option of datalist.options) {
  option.onclick = function () {
    input.value = this.value;
    datalist.style.display = 'none';
  }
}

datalist.style.width = input.offsetWidth + 'px';
datalist.style.left = input.offsetLeft + 'px';
datalist.style.top = input.offsetTop + input.offsetHeight + 'px';

Result

Specifications

Specification Status Comment
HTML Living Standard
The definition of '<datalist>' in that specification.
Living Standard
HTML5
The definition of '<datalist>' in that specification.
Recommendation

Browser compatibility

BCD tables only load in the browser

Polyfill

Include this polyfill to provide support for older and currently incompatible browsers:
datalist-polyfill

See also