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What is the common name or design pattern for a UI element which is like a combobox but has the added facility of typing to refine the options returned in the drop down.

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  • what are the options listed in the drop down ?
    – rags
    Commented Jun 19, 2013 at 11:57
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    Are you asking if combobox has a name? :\
    – rk.
    Commented Jun 19, 2013 at 12:15
  • No. what kind of data does the dropdown hold ?
    – rags
    Commented Jun 19, 2013 at 12:19
  • @rags Sorry for the confusion. My question was directed to pKo.
    – rk.
    Commented Jun 19, 2013 at 12:37
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    I've always heard them named as simply a combo box. demos.telerik.com/aspnet-ajax/combobox/examples/overview/… Commented Jan 7, 2014 at 16:05

2 Answers 2

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Type-ahead Filter:

If the field when entered displays a drop-down of all eligible values, and when the user starts typing into the field the options in the drop-down is reduced by hiding non-matching values, then this is a type-ahead filter.

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Auto-Suggest Field:

A type-ahead field which does not display the drop-down when first entered, instead waiting for the user to type some characters before then providing a drop-down of suggestions is known as an auto-suggest field.

enter image description here

Some auto-suggest implementations will do a fuzzy match (see how my typing of "my ach" resulted in "my school" as a suggestion). This typically doesn't occur with type-ahead filters (usually because type-ahead filters are used for fields with a controlled vocabulary, not free-form text, and thus the range of options are defined and limited).

Combo-box:

If the field when entered displays a drop-down of all eligible values, and when the user starts typing into the field the first matching value in the drop-down is selected (without hiding non-matching values), then this is a combo box.

enter image description here

Note that since non-matching values are not hidden the operator can use the arrow keys to move the selected option up or down. I have found this handy in that I might want to select the last of the options that start with the letter "S" and so I type an "T" and then use the up-arrow cursor.

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I believe you are referring to a combo-box

enter image description here

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