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is there a limit to number of items allowed in Combobox List

18 New Member
I am learning ASP as I go while working on this project. I know VB and Access. The page will have a combobox that will be populated from a SQL database and the user will be selecting from the combobox to aid in the search criteria.

Does anyone know if there is a limit to the number of entries you can have in a combobox? I will continue to do my research but if anyone happens to know I would apprecitate a response.

Thanks in advance.
Aug 23 '07 #1
7 6759
jhardman
3,406 Recognized Expert Specialist
The closest HTML equivalent to a VB "COMBOBOX" is called a "SELECT MENU" or "LIST MENU" and is often referred to as a "dropdown list" or "dropdown select".

Anyway, are you referring to whether there is a limit to the actual number of options in the thinger, the number of options displayed at one time, or the number of options a user may select? To each of these the answer is no, there is no limit as far as I know, but there is definitely a practical limit to each of these. For example, in IE there is a bug where expanded dropdown lists are often positioned under other elements (especially buttons). In Safari very long lists are often not shown in their entirety. there usually isn't a problem if there are less than say 30 options, but in some cases, especially where there are very many options, it might be a good idea to use radio buttons or checkboxes or whatever, just so all the options can be seen at one time.

Jared
Aug 23 '07 #2
Heggr
18 New Member
In my additional research I found that the correct name I should have used is Dropdown Select, thank you for verifying that.

I am referring to the actual number of items being listed in the Dropdown list that the person will choose from. The DropDown will have a scroll bar so the user will be able to scroll up and down to see all of the possible selections. Then when they find the correct one they will click on it. They will be selecitng only one.

An example would be on a form asking for a persons address. The field requesting the State would be a Dropdown Select with all 50 states names listed and the user would only select one state. Is there a physical limit to the number of names that could be put into the list?

I hope this clarifies my question better.
Aug 23 '07 #3
ilearneditonline
130 Recognized Expert New Member
As with Jared, I am have never encountered any issues with the number of items. But i would not want my users to have to scroll through several hundred options, and yes i have seen people try that.

In this day and age, if you are using really long lists, i would suggest looking at implementing some auto complete fields with AJAX. It looks cleaner and most users are impressed by things like that.
Aug 23 '07 #4
jhardman
3,406 Recognized Expert Specialist
In my additional research I found that the correct name I should have used is Dropdown Select, thank you for verifying that.
Well, now you know better ;-)

There is not an actual limit as far as I know, but I would argue that there is a practical limit, really long lists might become difficult to navigate and different browsers' interpretations of dropdown selects might not work well for long lists. As I mentioned above, I usually use Safari at home, but Safari doesn't render really long lists well, IE also has a known bug where expanded lists might be covered by other controls. At very least you should test the resulting code in a variety of browsers to make sure they work. Let me know if this helps.

Jared
Aug 23 '07 #5
jhardman
3,406 Recognized Expert Specialist
As with Jared, I am have never encountered any issues with the number of items. But i would not want my users to have to scroll through several hundred options, and yes i have seen people try that.

In this day and age, if you are using really long lists, i would suggest looking at implementing some auto complete fields with AJAX. It looks cleaner and most users are impressed by things like that.
I almost suggested image maps. I think those are really cool and I know they are not as easy to code as selects, so I am doubly impressed when I see them used.

Jared
Aug 23 '07 #6
JamieHowarth0
533 Recognized Expert Contributor
I almost suggested image maps. I think those are really cool and I know they are not as easy to code as selects, so I am doubly impressed when I see them used.

Jared
And especially with state names? Someone sees a map and sees all 51 states lined up, nice and pretty on a map, and then clicks on the map to select their state in which they reside (using JS to handle the actual data generated)? That would be so sweet - but it'd take you a while to program every single polygon on the graphic...
My problem with that (coming from the UK) is that we have a damn sight more than 51 states, we have counties... about 100-odd lol, and some of them are absolutely TINY!!!

Good luck!

medicineworker

P.S. I agree with previous posts about the whole drop-down list thing, I've seen some sites do use a drop-down for state but I wouldn't call it practical as it's at least 60 long (some sites include American Overseas Territories as states) and tends to mess up when the list gets longer than the user's screen.
Aug 24 '07 #7
Heggr
18 New Member
Thank you all for your helpful information. I agree that too much in the list is over doing it and does not look good. We are doing what we can do narrow down what will eventually be put into the list. The boss just gave me a task to find out if there was an actual limit since we know that it is possible to have 100 items or more show up in the list.

I will keep all of your suggestions in mind during the project. Thanks again for all the great suggestions.

Heggr
Aug 24 '07 #8

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