When the user has to select from many options in a dropdown menu, a search field where the user may input text that filters the options can help find the desired option. There are two UI elements that are commonly used for this use case, I would say, and they differ in the placement of the text field:

  1. The search field is part of the container (like a combo box)

Search field inside container

  1. The search field is inside the dropdown list

Search field inside dropdown list

Combo boxes benefit from allowing the user to filter the options immediately after clicking on the UI element, however, the ability to search is not as obvious as with the search field inside the dropdown list. Also, a combo box is not easily distinguishable from a regular dropdown menu which might conflict with user expectations. Which UI element is generally the better option?

1 Answer 1


It should be inside the container.

Duplicate items is always bad because it complicates things and can be confusing.

For your concern with it not being obvious, you could always make it more obvious. And combo boxes are getting common, as they should.

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