I have an expandable table where each row may be expanded for detail. However, some rows do not have more data to expand. The expand icon is a carrot placed to the right most of each row. Is is better to:

  • Disable the caret
  • Remove the caret
  • Let users click it to find that no data is there
  • Something I haven't thought of?

I have tried researching this on my own, but keep coming up with dev articles that do not come at this problem from a usability perspective. Help and reference material would be GREATLY appreciated. Thanks!

  • When you say carrot 🥕Do you mean a down arrow / "chevron"? Eg ⌄
    – scunliffe
    Commented Dec 27, 2016 at 17:11

4 Answers 4


Lets analyse the options you have, and what the user might understand:

  1. Enabled button: "There is extra information".
  2. Disabled button: "There is extra information".
  3. No button: "There is no extra information".

Questions that arise from the options:

  1. Enabled button:

    • Nothing displays: "Why is there no info if there was a button to show it?"
    • "No info" message: "Understood but the step was unnecessary"
  2. Disabled button: "I'm not able to see the info. What can I do to enable it?"

  3. No button: "There is no extra information."

So in my opinion the best option is 3. No button. Otherwise you could go with 1. Enabled button with a "No content" message, which is understandable but it makes the user do an extra step.


Unless I'm missing something, only show the expand option when there is something to expand to and show.


The icon is for loading more data in your case. If the set of information doesn't contain additional rows, it is no need to display the icon. I understand you want to keep the design consistent, but a button disabled is more confusing in this case.


It is better to not show the expand button for rows that have no details, as shown in this Grid example.

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