How to create a cascading drop down list in Sharepoint

cascading_drop_down_region_country_cityAs a Sharepoint developer, I was once asked to create a cascading drop down list which works in within a custom list.

Basically what’s required is when a user chooses on a drop down list say region, once selected it will show all countries in within the chosen region and finally show all cities within the chosen region.

See a sample by clicking on the image above.

This particular feature is what I would call a cascading drop down list. If we would code it in .NET or even php, this particular feature can be easily achieved by simply googling for the codes and implementing it directly.

Initially I thought that the drop down list capability would be made available out of the box in Sharepoint. However, it’s not and to actually achieve this is not a straight forward process.

It can be frustrating that Sharepoint provides the custom list functionality which is very cool and useful, but not the cascading drop down capability. Most time, users need this feature for them to enter data easily and accurately.

Well, no matter what, there is always a solution to every problem. It’s just how difficult to achieve. The more difficult it is, the more time, resources and costs required to implement.

Here I will share two methods:

Method 1: Free but require some technical abilities to implement. It may take some time to get it up and running depending on how familiar you are with the entire Sharepoint Architecture.

Sharepoint – Cascading Drop Down Lists by Data Cogs Information Technology

Method 2: Not free but may be easier to implement. You can also give it a try (30 days) before deciding if it gets the job done. At least you can show to your boss / client that it’s doable… with even more investments required.

SharePoint Cascading Lookup Plus Field Type by Kwizcom

What I really like about this Sharepoint Add-On is its ability to support:

  • Cascading fields (“Employees” filtered by “Department”)
  • Many to many connections
  • Automatic creation of bidirectional connection between items
  • Works on most browsers
  • more…

There may be more method available but for a start, you can check the above two methods out. And to the MS Sharepoint team, hopefully cascading drop down list can be made available out of the box in the next version Sharepoint 2010. Thanks in advance.

About the author

Hi! My name is Bob Lee and I’m a web developer / technical writer who specializes in developing and reviewing web applications.

As an entrepreneur, blogger, developer, and tech enthusiast, I have been in this field for more than 10 years, and have been loving every minute of it.

Also developed and manages an IT start up based in Malaysia.

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