In my application users are required to select from a drop down, a list of projects they wish to include in their custom search. The easy part is that users can select one project to filter on or select them all but it gets tricky when they want to select more than one but not all. The only way I can think of doing this is to offer another option in the drop down "select projects" that opens a dialogue with a large list of check boxes, they then select the projects which is posted back to the filter query.

Although this might work it seems counter-intuitive and I'm hoping some other people might have some better examples of displaying large lists of check boxes that will be quicker to user rather than this adhoc process.

Any ideas on this would be great.


  • It would help to know how many projects there usually are in the list and how many projects a typical user might want to include in their search. Commented Nov 9, 2010 at 17:51

3 Answers 3


This question is very similar to this one about selecting a subset of items in a long list.


Is is possible to group these projects into manageable collections? If so, you could provide a list of groups that may be expanded into individual checkboxes for each project or selected in their entirety: (please excuse the rough ascii artwork)

[ ] Group A (>)

[ ] Group B (v)

[ ] Group B Item 1              [ ] Another B Item
[ ] Third Group B Item

[ ] Another Group (>)

This would at least allow the user to quickly find their favorite project(s) more easily.


I think Nescio's option is fairly well-used these days.

Or, why wouldn't you allow specific menu options through a 'hold CNTL and select' methodology? This is a usable and fairly standard design pattern, requiring one sentence of instruction for most users. Nescio's option is probably a little more elegant, while this suggestion is pretty easy to implement.

Either one is certainly much preferred to presenting a list or drop-down and then, as you've indicated, a dialogue. The two selection implementations don't seem to match each other.

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