I have a few dropdown lists used for filtering data in a grid. Initially the grid will show all the data and the user can select options from the dropdowns to filter by those selections.

Two questions: 1- What's a better option to indicate the dropdown has no selection? A blank option or something like '(View All)'? This will be the first option in the dropdown.

2- If the initial dropdown option is blank to indicate nothing is selected, would that confuse some users and make them think the dropdown is empty?

  • View all as default make lot of sense into that filter rather than keeping it empty
    – uttham
    May 31, 2017 at 3:48
  • Can I select multiple options from drop-down list?
    – NB4
    Jul 31, 2017 at 4:37

1 Answer 1


Consider having a default option that communicates what the user can expect to see in the dropdown.

Neither of the suggested options helps user understand what the control is for. Using the default text to add context, adds visibility to the control and helps with differentiation.


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  • There's a label for each dropdown which indicates what the dropdown is used for. I am not sure if your suggestion is based on assuming there's no label. Although even with the label showing, 'filter by..'' seems to be better than a default blank selection or view all since view all doesn't mean the grid is showing all when other dropdowns might have selected options. May 31, 2017 at 16:26
  • I did think about whether you might have labels. I assumed you did, and decided that having the additional information, especially when it describes the action (something I assume the label doesn't do), was going to be valuable regardless.
    – dennislees
    May 31, 2017 at 16:29
  • "View all widgets" and "View all foobars" would be another alternative; showing both what you could filter by, and that all are currently shown.
    – TripeHound
    Jul 31, 2017 at 11:14

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