I need some advice on how to allow a user to select options from a multiple select box that has over 25k options.

Currently, I have 3 select boxes that filter the MAIN select box. If no options are selected from the first 3 filtering boxes, this will display ALL the 25k options in the MAIN select box. They can then click on 1 or some of these 25k options and move them to the SELECTED options box.

My issue is, obviously with an old school method 25k is not something the browser can handle. What other ideas and designs are there where the user can select some of these options. Bear in mind, these options are not something the user will know. So a type in field won't work since they don't know what to type.

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    To be honest, more information about the specific type of data would really be useful here. At least talking for myself I can think of no particular data which fits your description thus coming up with alternative designs is just guess work then. Commented Jun 11, 2014 at 2:46

1 Answer 1


You just need to let users select several items out of 25k options - the "select box" is (hopefully) not part of the requirement, it's part of your current solution.

You say that you're already using filters to reduce the number of items in the main box and your problem is with displaying results before the filters have been activated. But you don't necessarily need to display anything there, you can force the users to use the filters.

Basically this is your classic faceted search.


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If the three filters don't let you cut the number of results substantially, consider adding some more. Another helpful technique is providing the results in a grid with some more data, where you can sort and filter further.

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