My guess is descending, but I want to have some theoretical background. I was using an application and my intuition told me to click the scroll bar down just to find previous years, and I felt surprised when I was wondering around the 2020s...

  • 2
    What is the purpose of the combobox?
    – dnbrv
    Apr 3, 2012 at 4:29
  • 1
    It's part of the calendar view of an application to select a date range for a report/forecast. When you click on the start/ending date of a report it displays a calendar with combo boxes for month and year. As it is a report/forecast it can contain dates in the future. It's like having the Google Analytics calendar to constrain dates for a report and Buying an plane ticket... you have things happening in the past and the future.
    – edgarator
    Apr 3, 2012 at 4:50
  • 2
    I edited out ASC/DESC, sounded too SQLy, might be hard to search for :)
    – Ben Brocka
    Apr 3, 2012 at 13:30

3 Answers 3



Choice restriction for data not having sense in this task quite enough also isn't present sense to change an order, it can create a small embarrassment with changing chronology ordering model, for example month sorted from DEC to JAN.

I can't tell precisely what such as tasks more in your case, drawing up of reports or forecasts. Therefore value by default left reports as for their construction there are necessary data for last years.

And one more...

If to take into consideration typical temporary model of interaction with documents - I don't see sense in formation of reports older than 5 years, and forecasting for 10 years forward are more senior. Documents of five years' prescription already most likely are in archive, and information received from the report hardly will carry any practical sense, except the publication on a company website in the section history of company .

Also illogically the forecast of this passenger traffic of railway transport in 2050 based on data for 1901 looks.

The chronology of a choice will remain with a scroll direction if you limit a choice of values not having sense for various type of documents.

Owing to that the greatest number of inquiries will be in a range of 3-5 years, it is possible to limit number of years in the list. For example if your company is based in 1997 - report creation for 1980 has no logic sense, otherwise the quantity of similar inquiries is insignificant a little.

More detailed info or wireframes simplify decision search, but, I hope that correctly understood your task.

  • 2
    Can you redo the image to remove the text and incorporate the text as actual text in the body of the answer. The images would be useful addition to the answer, but not when they include the answer itself.
    – ChrisF
    Apr 3, 2012 at 11:18
  • ChrisF is right; it makes it very difficult for future users to search for this answer if then need to, and it's overly difficult for users to edit the content here to help improve your answer.
    – JonW
    Apr 3, 2012 at 11:20
  • I corrected the answer Apr 3, 2012 at 11:25
  • @daniel good answer with graphics!! :)
    – sree
    Apr 3, 2012 at 13:55

In general it is always descending. But for forecast, it is best to use ascending. Simply because forecast always means future, so always have date from now to the future. If you see weather forecast it is also ascending link.

If you look at the stock market, it always shows dates in ascending order.

If you think of 2020, I would suggest instead of giving long list of years, just present current 3 years; for the rest, let the visitor manually choose it by typing or from archive!


The most important thing is that the years are sorted and the sorting is consistent through your design.

I think that the direction of the sorting should depend on which years are more frequently used - the older years or the newer ones.


  • For a trip planning tool, the current year should be first and the next year should follow.
  • For the date of purchase in a support tool, the current year should be first, followed by the previous year.
  • For year of birth this could depend on the age group of audience, if the audience is limited to a certain age group.
  • I can't back this up, but in my experience "start now" works best. For forward-looking stuff (e.g. credit-card expiration), ascend from current year. For backward-looking stuff (e.g. birth date), descend from current year. Apr 3, 2012 at 18:30
  • @MonicaCellio That makes sense in most cases, however, what if you have a range that doesn't include current year e.g. the birth date of a driver. Apr 3, 2012 at 18:33
  • Ah, good point. Apr 3, 2012 at 19:32

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