<select>: The HTML Select element

The <select> HTML element represents a control that provides a menu of options.

Try it

The above example shows typical <select> usage. It is given an id attribute to enable it to be associated with a <label> for accessibility purposes, as well as a name attribute to represent the name of the associated data point submitted to the server. Each menu option is defined by an <option> element nested inside the <select>.

Each <option> element should have a value attribute containing the data value to submit to the server when that option is selected. If no value attribute is included, the value defaults to the text contained inside the element. You can include a selected attribute on an <option> element to make it selected by default when the page first loads.

A <select> element is represented in JavaScript by an HTMLSelectElement object, and this object has a value property which contains the value of the selected <option>.

The <select> element has some unique attributes you can use to control it, such as multiple to specify whether multiple options can be selected, and size to specify how many options should be shown at once. It also accepts most of the general form input attributes such as required, disabled, autofocus, etc.

You can further nest <option> elements inside <optgroup> elements to create separate groups of options inside the dropdown. You can also include <hr> elements to create separators that add visual breaks between options.

For further examples, see The native form widgets: Drop-down content.


This element includes the global attributes.


A string providing a hint for a user agent's autocomplete feature. See The HTML autocomplete attribute for a complete list of values and details on how to use autocomplete.


This Boolean attribute lets you specify that a form control should have input focus when the page loads. Only one form element in a document can have the autofocus attribute.


This Boolean attribute indicates that the user cannot interact with the control. If this attribute is not specified, the control inherits its setting from the containing element, for example <fieldset>; if there is no containing element with the disabled attribute set, then the control is enabled.


The <form> element to associate the <select> with (its form owner). The value of this attribute must be the id of a <form> in the same document. (If this attribute is not set, the <select> is associated with its ancestor <form> element, if any.)

This attribute lets you associate <select> elements to <form>s anywhere in the document, not just inside a <form>. It can also override an ancestor <form> element.


This Boolean attribute indicates that multiple options can be selected in the list. If it is not specified, then only one option can be selected at a time. When multiple is specified, most browsers will show a scrolling list box instead of a single line dropdown.


This attribute is used to specify the name of the control.


A Boolean attribute indicating that an option with a non-empty string value must be selected.


If the control is presented as a scrolling list box (e.g. when multiple is specified), this attribute represents the number of rows in the list that should be visible at one time. Browsers are not required to present a select element as a scrolled list box. The default value is 0.

Note: According to the HTML specification, the default value for size should be 1; however, in practice, this has been found to break some websites, and no other browser currently does that, so Mozilla has opted to continue to return 0 for the time being with Firefox.

Usage notes

Selecting multiple options

On a desktop computer, there are a number of ways to select multiple options in a <select> element with a multiple attribute:

Mouse users can hold the Ctrl, Command, or Shift keys (depending on what makes sense for your operating system) and then click multiple options to select/deselect them.

Warning: The mechanism for selecting multiple non-contiguous items via the keyboard described below currently only seems to work in Firefox.

On macOS, the Ctrl + Up and Ctrl + Down shortcuts conflict with the OS default shortcuts for Mission Control and Application windows, so you'll have to turn these off before it will work.

Keyboard users can select multiple contiguous items by:

  • Focusing on the <select> element (e.g. using Tab ).
  • Selecting an item at the top or bottom of the range they want to select using the Up and Down cursor keys to go up and down the options.
  • Holding down the Shift key and then using the Up and Down cursor keys to increase or decrease the range of items selected.

Keyboard users can select multiple non-contiguous items by:

  • Focusing on the <select> element (e.g. using Tab ).
  • Holding down the Ctrl key then using the Up and Down cursor keys to change the "focused" select option, i.e. the one that will be selected if you choose to do so. The "focused" select option is highlighted with a dotted outline, in the same way as a keyboard-focused link.
  • Pressing Space to select/deselect "focused" select options.

Styling with CSS

The <select> element is notoriously difficult to style productively with CSS. You can affect certain aspects like any element — for example, manipulating the box model, the displayed font, etc., and you can use the appearance property to remove the default system appearance.

However, these properties don't produce a consistent result across browsers, and it is hard to do things like line different types of form element up with one another in a column. The <select> element's internal structure is complex, and hard to control. If you want to get full control, you should consider using a library with good facilities for styling form widgets, or try rolling your own dropdown menu using non-semantic elements, JavaScript, and WAI-ARIA to provide semantics.

For more useful information on styling <select>, see:


The <hr> within a <select> should be considered purely decorative, as they are currently not exposed within the accessibility tree and therefore not exposed to assistive technologies.


Basic select

The following example creates a very simple dropdown menu, the second option of which is selected by default.

<!-- The second value will be selected initially -->
<select name="choice">
  <option value="first">First Value</option>
  <option value="second" selected>Second Value</option>
  <option value="third">Third Value</option>


Select with grouping options

The following example creates a dropdown menu with grouping using <optgroup> and <hr> to make it easier for the user to understand the content in the dropdown.

<label for="hr-select">Your favorite food</label> <br />

<select name="foods" id="hr-select">
  <option value="">Choose a food</option>
  <hr />
  <optgroup label="Fruit">
    <option value="apple">Apples</option>
    <option value="banana">Bananas</option>
    <option value="cherry">Cherries</option>
    <option value="damson">Damsons</option>
  <hr />
  <optgroup label="Vegetables">
    <option value="artichoke">Artichokes</option>
    <option value="broccoli">Broccoli</option>
    <option value="cabbage">Cabbages</option>
  <hr />
  <optgroup label="Meat">
    <option value="beef">Beef</option>
    <option value="chicken">Chicken</option>
    <option value="pork">Pork</option>
  <hr />
  <optgroup label="Fish">
    <option value="cod">Cod</option>
    <option value="haddock">Haddock</option>
    <option value="salmon">Salmon</option>
    <option value="turbot">Turbot</option>


Advanced select with multiple features

The follow example is more complex, showing off more features you can use on a <select> element:

  Please choose one or more pets:
  <select name="pets" multiple size="4">
    <optgroup label="4-legged pets">
      <option value="dog">Dog</option>
      <option value="cat">Cat</option>
      <option value="hamster" disabled>Hamster</option>
    <optgroup label="Flying pets">
      <option value="parrot">Parrot</option>
      <option value="macaw">Macaw</option>
      <option value="albatross">Albatross</option>


You'll see that:

  • Multiple options are selectable because we've included the multiple attribute.
  • The size attribute causes only 4 lines to display at a time; you can scroll to view all the options.
  • We've included <optgroup> elements to divide the options up into different groups. This is a purely visual grouping, its visualization generally consists of the group name being bolded, and the options being indented.
  • The "Hamster" option includes a disabled attribute and therefore can't be selected at all.

Technical summary

Content categories Flow content, phrasing content, interactive content, listed, labelable, resettable, and submittable form-associated element
Permitted content Zero or more <option>, <optgroup> or <hr> elements.
Tag omission None, both the starting and ending tag are mandatory.
Permitted parents Any element that accepts phrasing content.
Implicit ARIA role combobox with no multiple attribute and no size attribute greater than 1, otherwise listbox
Permitted ARIA roles menu with no multiple attribute and no size attribute greater than 1, otherwise no role permitted
DOM interface HTMLSelectElement


HTML Standard
# the-select-element

Browser compatibility

BCD tables only load in the browser

See also