I have a basic reporting system when you can choose filters from a collection of SELECT fields.

An example of this might be to filter the report by Country. The SELECT field would obviously include a choice of countries.

The label for the first option in the SELECT to indicate unspecified might be blank, or read All Countries.

The issue is that results from the report may include data that does not have a country. In this case, All Countries might be confusing, because it could be assumed this selection would not return results that do not have a country at all.

It may also be that we want to allow a search for data that does not have a country, and data that has a country but one specific country.

My suggestion in the office has been:

  • (blank)
  • Any country
  • No country
  • Afghanistan
  • ...
  • Virgin Islands

I'm dubious about "No country" and "Any country", but I think a blank label works to indicated unspecified.

In the case of a shorter list where a radio button should be used, the first option cannot be blank. So in that case, is "unspecified" an appropriate label?

  • As you say, "all countries" can imply to or from the user that data at least has a country. What about making the default label "-- Unused --" since it's a filter?
    – mgraham
    Jan 23, 2016 at 13:43

5 Answers 5


I would go with 'All' and 'Unspecified'.

These have the advantage of being category-agnostic: they will work for each item in your collection of SELECT fields, bringing the benefits of consistency to your interface.

All and Unspecified

An improvement to this would be to ensure the 'All' and 'Unspecified' are always your first two options in the list, so that users can be confident of finding them when they need them.


Personally, id go with "Any Country" simply because it implies that no filter would be applied to the selection. As far as the other choices, I agree that "No country", "...", and blank can sound unclear. Have you considered "None" or "Other".


A common way to handle this is by adding the selected country to a list of search filters, and then allowing the filters that have already been added to be deleted. Here is a rather crude example:


download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

After selecting a country, the drop-down is replaced with a deletable tag:


download bmml source

  • You are correct that a different UI could better illustrate this. A form builder would work well, where you choose from a list of fields to perform a filter on, then choose the value for that field. For the moment, I need stick with the basics of form due to existing constraints. Jan 24, 2016 at 22:20

If the default is not filtered by country, label that “Worldwide” not blank. Blank suggests I must choose a country.

“Any country” and “No country” are meaningless to me, even with your explanation. If you have a list of countries, it has to have a list of countries plus “Worldwide” and that is all. That is how the Earth works. If you have leftover options after that, they go in another UI widget.


Judging on the description this country selection option is a filter, e.g. when it is configured the data are collected/presented for selected country only. Then the question is how to label the selection when user wants to see all available data, without filtering anything. Thus, the logical answer is to call it "No Filter".

  • This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post. - From Review Jan 22, 2016 at 6:41
  • @locationunknown, this is a short answer but it offers an alternative solution. How does that not answer the question?
    – user31143
    Jan 25, 2016 at 6:24
  • @locationunknown Unless I'm missing the point, the question is about a filter which should provide several options: 1) Filter is off, 2) Any country in the world, 3) Records with no country, 4) Specific country. In my opinion, options 2) - 4) are provided correctly in the original question and the only option not covered is 1). I suggest a value for it.
    – mikryz
    Jan 25, 2016 at 19:48
  • @mikryz This is indeed an answer to the question, however it is very short, I would suggest adding your reasoning as to why "no filter" is a the best option.
    – DasBeasto
    Mar 22, 2016 at 12:51
  • @DasBeasto and everybody else. Thanks for the feedback! I've updated my answer to clarify the point.
    – mikryz
    Mar 22, 2016 at 21:12

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