in my project there is a form. One of the field is problematic for me. User should choose an option from a very long list (thousands of options). I wanted to do it by combobox, but I don't know how searching should works.

We can't display options after typing by user first letter, because list will be still very long .

I thought that we could display options after 3 letters.


User have to choose one name from the list (10 000 of names).

enter image description here

Is it clear? Do you have any ideas do it better?

The most important is that user must choose an option from the list (can't type new name) and list is veeeery long.

  • 1
    Names can be shorter than 3 letters, so you should double-check that there are no values in your data that users might have a hard time searching for. Oct 2, 2019 at 14:04

2 Answers 2


My best experience with a similar select autocomplete field looked like search but works as a select and I can type to filter.

Se on the example: No limit, no need extra information, no need trial. The user can just start to type and will find what they are looking for.

enter image description here

On item 2 you can show all options order by name without filter and as soon as the user starts to type the javascript must start to filter the options and refresh the dropdown.

And the number of displaying options depends on the device, screen size and what is the best view for the user.

Remember: too many options = too many decision = user take no decision and go away.

  • You always display 5 rows without scrollbar? in second step you display most frequently chosed options?
    – Janette
    Oct 2, 2019 at 13:03
  • @Janette I edited the answer and add in the bottom complete detail about how should work. Oct 2, 2019 at 13:17
  • @Janette If this answer helped you you can set as right answer clicking on check icon aside of the answer and upvoted if is useful to you. Thanks! Oct 3, 2019 at 8:57

It's not really a problem if the list still contains a lot of items. But for such a long list of entries, i would definitively recommend a form of searching.

Here are some plugins that may be what you are looking for:

  • 1
    Not sure if this is still the case nowadays, but the maximum amount of items in a combobox is in most cases 32767 because it uses an integer as index. If you're going over that it is probably better to use a filterable list, or at least segment the possible options first by first selecting sex and/or location
    – DennisW
    Oct 2, 2019 at 12:06
  • Thank you for response.
    – Janette
    Oct 2, 2019 at 12:08
  • We use solutions like in plugins already, when the list is not so long. The problem is in that searching the whole list is displayed on click in the search field . I can't display the list because it could load very long. This is why I want to display the list after typing 3 letters. Segmentation is not possible too (in reality I don't have human names it was only example).
    – Janette
    Oct 2, 2019 at 12:19

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