I have a list box that with a lot of items as follows : enter image description here

I want to enable multiple selection on this list box and carry over the selected list items into a separate bucket : enter image description here

Now I want to find the best way to select multiple items at a time,two approaces that i have thought are :

  • Use Ctrl key on keyboard to select multiple enteries,but we need to keep holding that while performing the task.
  • Treat each item as an entity and a single click on that item would select and deselect the item,this approach does not involve interacting with the keyboard altogether.

I want to identify the better approach or maybe a totally different approach if any.

3 Answers 3


I'm supporting my answer based on Google - material design - selection pattern

Touch a selected item to deselect it. Touch an unselected item to select it.

Also on long list it's a good practice to show the user what he already selected.

This can be achieved with a similar pattern to material design chips with multiple select menu.

Here is an example:

enter image description here

Live example: md-chips with multiple select menu

  • 1
    As a note to this answer: the example contains a vital cue needed for the tap/ click to select or deselect: it always show which or how many items are selected, independent of scroll position. This covers a scenario where user taps item no 5, then scroll down to position where item 5 is no longer in view, and then selects another item. Without the cue, the user does not know if he/she has replaced or expanded original selection.
    – wintvelt
    Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 20:07

Jquery component https://select2.github.io/examples.html#multiple most often used, and it adapts to mobile devices There are also https://harvesthq.github.io/chosen/


It might be safer sticking to a more familiar and less painful interaction (aka using checkboxes).

The CTRL is reserved for OS and the risk of losing your selection is huge. Additionally, it is considered a shortcut method, so don't rely on users discovering your hidden functionality.

I would say use checkboxes and complement with Shift key to batch select. Also, give the user ways to narrow down the list by using filters or search.

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