On a table, the user should be able to edit the values in each cell on a specific column. The current solution is using a multi selection drop-down menu but the user has to scroll through the options, which is a bit inconvenient. The current solution

The table is wide, and inserting a button into the cells is a problem. adding a contextual button above the table is an option, but that means that the contextual menu has to be fixed, and and it might be a problem since the menu above it isn't fixed. once the button is triggered a pop up window with the cell setting will appear.

The complete table

Can you recommend a conventional method to enable edit of a single cell?

  • It would be more clear if you could draw or attach image of complete table. Commented Jan 2, 2017 at 6:20
  • Done! :) @JasminJavia what do you think?
    – Eran Bar
    Commented Jan 2, 2017 at 7:39
  • How it is currently? Commented Jan 2, 2017 at 7:42
  • as illustrated above, with a dropdown multiselect
    – Eran Bar
    Commented Jan 2, 2017 at 7:43

3 Answers 3


As per my view point, Use inline edit to edit single cell and if column contains multiple fields to select like a dropdown checkbox then show respective controls over the cell when user click the cell to edit. For an example : If column is for age then show calender on edit, if it is either or option then show dropdown.

Another Solution


download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

  • This is the current situation that I would like to change @Jasmin-Javia
    – Eran Bar
    Commented Jan 2, 2017 at 11:00
  • If you don't want to do this then put check box in front of check box if user click on "edit" button then this would be visible and whatever rows would be selected by user show it above the table. For ex: whatever I shown here would be listed above the table and common save button would be there to save all the change made in that row. want example(que) Commented Jan 2, 2017 at 11:03
  • Sorry, but I don't understand
    – Eran Bar
    Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 7:19
  • I edited my previous example so please have look in that Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 9:07

Perhaps you could pop up the allowable options in a box as the user types them? This sort of auto-complete is similar in functionality to the tags editor that you used to add tags to your question.

If you're concerned that the user might not know what rules are available, you could always provide a filter-by-typing approach, accompanied by a detailed reference list. What I mean is, you start by showing every rule in a tabular format (uses space most efficiently) and filter down the list of rules as the user types, eventually showing "No rule found" if they've typed something you can't find a match for. Then, the user would go to the reference list to locate whatever they're needing.

The benefits to this system is that, after the first time they use a rule, the user will be able to very quickly fill it in at another position. I would argue that this beats manually navigating a list every time (even with a recently used section)

  • Yes, but I don't want the user to memorize all of the different rules, I want the system to do it for him, since there are lots of rules..
    – Eran Bar
    Commented Jan 2, 2017 at 7:41
  • @EranBar see new edit :) Maybe consider adding that as a key point to your question? Commented Jan 2, 2017 at 7:48
  • I am not sure what you mean by that, what edit?
    – Eran Bar
    Commented Jan 2, 2017 at 8:14
  • @EranBar I made changes to my answer to include more information. It's 3 paragraphs instead of 2 sentences now. Commented Jan 2, 2017 at 9:07

If I understand you correctly, you have two issues:

  • invoking the edit action of the cell where you hesitate on putting an extra button in the cell - which takes some space.

    Why won't you use double click for invoking the edit action?

  • presenting the possible options in user-friendly form when more options are possible.

The second one is more complicated. I agree with Jasmin Javia's answer (hence using their mockup) where they suggest to differentiate the type of data and to provide data type specific dialogs.
I'd take one step further:

  • in most cases age changes each year, why not enter the birth date (using calendar input) and dynamically calculate the age of the person? Display the age in the cell but display the birth date in on-hover balloon.
  • if there are more possible options, like role or birth place, display a scrollable list if there are less than e.g. 10 items in the list and a grid with items if there are more:


download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

Then, depending on whether the option is unique or there can be more options, either close the grid after selecting immediately or add a close button (a cross top right) and allow to select and deselect the options.

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