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Let's say I have a grid with information about 5000 people.

Also, I have a dropdown with the list of foods above the grid with the label:

"Filter people by favorite food"

Should I filter dropdown values to only those represented in the grid?
I mean, let's say I have 30 foods in the dropdown initially, but those 5000 people in the grid only use 5 different foods. Should I limit my dropdown to 10 existing items, this way users will never get an empty grid when filtered?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

The essence of filtering is to get a subset of the whole set using information filtering tools which are delivered by system. This is main distinction between filtering and search, although the border is rather fuzzy (e.g. predictive search).

Also keep in mind, the secondary filter's role is to inform user about the general set, presenting its unique values as filter values. Just watching the filter's values could deliver some insights and affect user's decisions.

So the better way is to limit filter by only existing values.

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