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Posted 28 Jul 2000


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Using JavaScript to handle drop-down list selections

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4.78/5 (11 votes)
25 Jul 2009CPOL
A simple method of making dropdown lists automatically navigate to a new page when a new selection is made.


We've all seen sites that feature drop down lists that automatically take you to your selection without you needing to make the cumbersome and lengthy step of hitting a "Go" button. If you've ever wondered how they do this then as you probably expected it's very simple.   

What on Earth am I talking about?

Picture a drop down list as follows:

Screenshot - dropdown.png

We often see a button next to the list that the user should press in order to actually activate there selection:

Screenshot - dropdown2.png

The user selects the value from the dropdown, hits Go, and the choice is made. By using javascript we can have the list notify us when a change is made, and we can essentially hit that Go button for the user. Not only do we save the use all the hassle of clicking on a button, we also get a handy reduction in the amount of screen real estate used.

How do we do it?

A typical dropdown list is instantiated using the following:

<select name=select1>
<option>Value 1</option>
<option>Value 2</option>
<option>Value 3</option>

(Give or take some attributes). What we do is add an attribute that instructs the page to call our handler for when the list selection is changed.

<select name=select1 onchange='OnChange(this.form.select1);'>

Our handler will look up the value that has just been selected, and navigate to an appropriate URL. An example of this is shown below:

<SCRIPT LANGUAGE=javascript>
function OnChange(dropdown)
    var myindex  = dropdown.selectedIndex
    var SelValue = dropdown.options[myindex].value
    var baseURL  = <Some value based on SelValue>
    top.location.href = baseURL;
    return true;

What if the user isn't using JavaScript?

We use the <noscript> tag to help us. We provide a Go button for the list, but only show it if JavaScript is not present:  

<select name=select1>
<option>Value 1</option>
<option>Value 2</option>
<option>Value 3</option>
</select><noscript><INPUT type="submit" value="Go" name=submit1></noscript>


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Chris Maunder
Founder CodeProject
Canada Canada
Current passion project: CodeProject SenseAI. Please join in!

Chris is the Co-founder of the popular code-sharing site, the digital advertising agency and the content marketing agency ContentLab.IO.

He's been programming way too long and has been, in various guides, an astrophysicist, mechanic, mathematician, physicist, breeder of carnivorous plants, hydrologist, geomorphologist, defence intelligence researcher and then, when all that got a bit rough on the nerves, a serial entrepreneur.

Chris has programmed everything from FORTRAN on a CRAY to Python on a Pi, but generally leans on TypeScript, C#, and SQL for the front, middle and back bits of his applications. His current focus is on ensuring developers know enough about Artificial Intelligence to be dangerous.

Comments and Discussions

Questioncodes downloads Pin
siele6-Jul-12 22:07
Membersiele6-Jul-12 22:07 
QuestionArticle dates Pin
DaveAuld31-Jan-12 4:53
professionalDaveAuld31-Jan-12 4:53 
AnswerRe: Article dates Pin
Chris Maunder31-Jan-12 5:41
cofounderChris Maunder31-Jan-12 5:41 
Generalbackground color change in List box Pin
vinothkumar_Dhakshinamoorthy28-Jan-10 3:25
Membervinothkumar_Dhakshinamoorthy28-Jan-10 3:25 
GeneralUsing JavaScript to handle drop-down list selections Pin
padolsky11-Aug-09 4:58
Memberpadolsky11-Aug-09 4:58 
Generaldrop down multiple select Pin
Lokesh Lal16-Jun-09 18:10
MemberLokesh Lal16-Jun-09 18:10 
GeneralRe: drop down multiple select Pin
Chris Maunder17-Jun-09 3:06
cofounderChris Maunder17-Jun-09 3:06 
GeneralRe: drop down multiple select Pin
Lokesh Lal18-Jun-09 6:51
MemberLokesh Lal18-Jun-09 6:51 
GeneralRe: drop down multiple select Pin
Chris Maunder18-Jun-09 6:51
cofounderChris Maunder18-Jun-09 6:51 
GeneralRe: drop down multiple select Pin
Lokesh Lal18-Jun-09 18:00
MemberLokesh Lal18-Jun-09 18:00 
QuestionRequest:Answer Pin
Gitanjali Dua18-Mar-07 22:41
MemberGitanjali Dua18-Mar-07 22:41 
Questiondropdown(javascript) Pin
Parul Chaudhary28-Jan-07 21:04
MemberParul Chaudhary28-Jan-07 21:04 
GeneralOpen/expand Dropdown by Script Pin
guruk12317-Oct-06 4:00
Memberguruk12317-Oct-06 4:00 
GeneralRefresh/Update dropdown list options Pin
missyz17-Nov-04 7:23
Membermissyz17-Nov-04 7:23 
Questionnot using asp? Pin
angel_girl30-Dec-03 22:10
Memberangel_girl30-Dec-03 22:10 
GeneralUse of arrays Pin
12-May-02 0:59
suss12-May-02 0:59 
GeneralUse OnClick instead of OnChange Pin
Dee A. Crouch17-Oct-00 10:19
sussDee A. Crouch17-Oct-00 10:19 
GeneralRe: Use OnClick instead of OnChange Pin
Steven Gregg31-May-01 3:13
MemberSteven Gregg31-May-01 3:13 
GeneralRe: Use OnClick instead of OnChange Pin
25-Oct-01 1:01
suss25-Oct-01 1:01 

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