How To Use a Multiple Select Field

Multiple select fields are those little boxes that contain a number of options, of which you can choose as many different rows as you like. However, they’re notoriously confusing to use if you’re not sure what you’re doing. As an example of what I’m talking about, have a play with this one, and see if you can figure out how to select just the first and the last option:

If you found that straightforward, then you can probably stop reading, but if you found that a struggle, or if you’ve ever written a web page for people who would have found that non-trivial, then hopefully this short guide will be of some use to you.

Selecting a single row from a multiple select is easy – you just click on the option you want, and it highlights it whilst deselecting any previously selected rows. Almost as easy is selecting a few consecutive rows – click on the first row you’re interesting in, then hold the SHIFT key and click on the last row you’re interested in, and it will select those rows and all of the rows in between.

Where the multiple select field gets a little tricky is if you want to select rows that are not next to each other. To do that, hold the CTRL key (or the command / cmd key if you’re on a Mac) and click on some rows. CTRL-clicking on a row will toggle its selected status – selecting rows that were previously unselected, or deselecting rows that had been selected already. Using CTRL-click allows you to select as many or as few options as you like – including unselecting all of the rows, to say “none of these options” apply. Try it again now, using CTRL-click to select just the first and the last option, and then deselecting them again.

That’s all there is to it, really!