Adding Options to a <select> Element Using jQuery


In this Byte, we'll explore how to add options to a <select> dropdown list using jQuery. The <select> element is a frequently used element in HTML forms, allowing users to choose an option from a predefined list. However, there quite a few situations where you need to dynamically add options to your list, and that's where jQuery comes into play.

Select Elements in HTML

The <select> element in HTML creates a dropdown list of options for the user to choose from. Each option within the <select> element is defined by an <option> tag. Here's a simple example:

<select id="fruits">
    <option value="apple">Apple</option>
    <option value="banana">Banana</option>
    <option value="cherry">Cherry</option>

In this example, the user can choose between an apple, a banana, or a cherry. The value attribute in the <option> tag is what gets sent when the form is submitted and is usually a more code-friendly format of the option (like an ID, slug, etc).

Why use jQuery to add <select> options?

There are a lot of reasons you might need to add options to your <select> dropdown list dynamically, after the page has loaded. Let's say, for instance, that you're fetching data from a server and want to populate your dropdown list based on the returned data. jQuery can help make this a lot easier. It does so by simplifying things like traversing and manipulating the HTML document, event handling, and Ajax.

Adding an Option to <select> with jQuery

Adding an option to a <select> element with jQuery is pretty straightforward. First, you select the element, and then you append an <option> to it. Here's the code to do it:

$(document).ready(function() {
    $('#fruits').append(new Option('Grapes', 'grapes'));

In this code, we're adding a new option with the text "Grapes" and a value of "grapes" to the "fruits" dropdown list. When the document is ready (i.e., when the HTML document has been loaded), the new option is appended to the <select> element with the ID "fruits".

Note: The $(document).ready() function ensures that the script runs after the document is fully loaded. This is necessary because the script needs to manipulate HTML elements that must exist when the script runs.

Now, if you look at your dropdown list, you'll see that "Grapes" has been added as an option. It's as simple as that! In the next section, we'll look at how to add multiple options at once, remove options, and modify existing options using jQuery. Stay tuned!

Adding Multiple Options to <select> with jQuery

When it comes to adding multiple options to a <select> element, jQuery makes it a breeze. The .append() method comes in handy here. Suppose you have an array of options that you want to add to your <select> element. Here's how you can do it:

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var fruits = [{
    text: "Strawberry",
    value: "strawberry"
}, {
    text: "Watermelon",
    value: "watermelon"
}, {
    text: "Peach",
    value: "peach"

$.each(fruits, function(idx, fruit) {
      .attr('value', fruit.value));

In this example, #fruits is the ID of your <select> element. The $.each() function iterates over the fruits array and for each fruit, it creates a new <option> element with the text and value set accordingly.

Removing Options from <select> with jQuery

There might be times when you want to remove options from a <select> element. Again, jQuery provides several ways to do this. One of the simplest methods is to use the .remove() function.

$('#fruits option[value="peach"]').remove();

This will remove the option with value "peach" from your <select> element. Pretty straightforward, right?

Note: You can also use the :selected selector to remove the currently selected option. Like this: $('#fruits option:selected').remove();

Modifying Options in <select> with jQuery

Modifying the text or value of an option in a <select> element is just as easy. You can use the .text() and .val() methods to modify the text and value of an option respectively. Here's how:

$('#fruits option[value="apple"]').text('Forbidden Fruit').val('forbidden-fruit');

This will change the text of the option with value "apple" to "Forbidden Fruit" and its value to "forbidden-fruit".


Working with <select> elements in jQuery is quite simple once you learn the methods. From adding multiple options, removing options to modifying existing ones - jQuery provides all the methods to make these tasks easy to do.

Last Updated: August 31st, 2023
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