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A select list enables users to select one or more items from a list. Use a select list when options are dynamic or variable.


A select component consists of a toggle control to open and close a menu of actions or links. Selects differ from dropdowns in that they persist selection, whereas dropdowns are typically used to present a list of actions or links.

basic select menu
  1. Toggle: The toggle is used to open and close the menu. It takes on all of the behaviors of a button. The toggle label always reflects the currently selected item or may hold a placeholder if nothing is selected.

  2. Menu: The menu contains a list of options or values. Menus should optimally present seven (7) or less items for easy scanning by the user. For longer menus, items may be grouped or scrolling may be exposed by limiting the height of the menu. See the menu component guidelines for more information about supported options, including use of icons, grouping, and descriptions. The Select component includes many common built-in menu variants. It’s also possible to attach a custom menu by using the basic panel variant.


PatternFly offers several variations of select lists:

Single select

Single select lists allow users to select a single, mutually exclusive option. When the user selects an option from the list, the selection appears in the toggle.

Example single select interaction

Checkbox select

Checkbox select lists allow users to select one or more options from a known list of options, using checkboxes as a selection method. You may choose to have a badge display in the toggle to show how many items have been selected. A common use case for checkbox select lists is in a toolbar filter for a table or page.

Example of checkbox select in a toolbar

Multiple select

Multiple select lists allow users to select one or more options from a list, with the selected options marked with a blue check. It differs from the checkbox select in that each option selected by the user appears in the top display area as chips. Once the number of selections reaches a certain number, the regular chips will be replaced by a gray chip indicating how many more items were selected. The default number of selections is 3, but you may change this number based on your use case.

Example of multiple select list

When to use checkbox select versus multiple select

Both the checkbox select and multiple select lists allow users to select multiple options from a list. However, there are some points to take into consideration when deciding which one to use.

Use checkbox select when:

  • Horizontal space is limited.
  • It is not crucial for the user to see their selections in the toggle itself.
  • Using a select list inside a toolbar. Toolbars have limited space, and the user will already be able to see their selection as chips below the filter itself.
Example for using a checkbox select

Use multiple select when:

  • Horizontal space is not limited.
  • It is useful for the user to see their selections from the toggle itself.
  • In a form, where a user may benefit from being able to quickly scan their inputs before submitting.
Example for using a multiple select inside a form


Typeahead allows users to narrow a displayed list of options by typing into the input field. Type ahead is recommended for lists with more than ten options and is available for single and multiple select lists. Although the typeahead within toggle functionality does not exist for the checkbox select, there is an option to add a typeahead capability within the menu of items if needed, as seen in this grouped checkbox input with filtering example.

Visual of a typeahead being used

When providing fewer than 5 options, you can use radio buttons or checkboxes to display all options to the user simultaneously if you don’t have any space constraints.

View source on GitHub