Dropdown Menu Question Type

Dropdown Menus are single-select questions with answer options displayed in a dropdown list. We also have the ability to create a multi-select Dropdown Menu.

When To Use It

Use Dropdown Menus to ask your respondents to choose a single option from a long list. For example, use a Dropdown Menu when asking a respondent what state they live in.

We recommend limiting how many answer options you put in dropdown menus because large sets of options (think 100+) fatigue survey respondents and over 1,500 can cause loading issues with the Build tab.

If you do need to add a large number of answer options, the Cascading Dropdown Menu question may be a good alternative.

Multi-Select Setting

On the Validation tab of the dropdown menu question check the Multi-Select option to allow survey respondents to select more than one option from the dropdown menu.

Dropdown Menu - Multi-Select Setting

Users can then select multiple options by pressing and holding Command/Control and clicking each option they wish to select.

Multi-Select Dropdown Menu

 Best Practice Tip

We here at SurveyGizmo are not fans of the multi-select dropdown menu. It can be both confusing and frustrating for survey respondents, causing them to leave the question unanswered or, worse, leave your survey altogether. Respondents who do answer your question might give you bad data because they cannot see all the answer options or because their finger slipped off the Command/Control key.

Multi-Select Dropdown Best Practices

  • Only use this question type when necessary e.g., when your answer option list is very long and you wish to provide multiple options.
  • Add instructions for your survey respondents telling them how to how to use this question.

Multi-Select Dropdown Alternatives

  • Checkboxes - Checkboxes allow for multiple options and display all the options as once so none are missed and are easy to use. You can also split your answer option list in to columns in the checkboxes question to better display long lists of answer options.
  • Cascading Dropdown Menu - Use a cascading dropdown menu question to segment your lists to drill down to a very long list of answer options.

Change Please Select Placeholder

You will notice that by default, SurveyGizmo's dropdown menu question has -- Please Select -- as the default placeholder text. If you want to customize or update this text, visit our tutorial for step-by-step instructions.

Survey Taking

On a desktop and most laptops the Dropdown Menu question type looks like so.

Dropdown Menu Survey Taking on Desktop

When optimized for mobile devices the Dropdown Menu question type displays in a very similar format. Many mobile devices have a native select interface to make it easier for respondents to select an option with their finger. Whether or not this is available depends on the device.

By default, survey questions show one at a time on mobile devices to prevent the need for scrolling on smaller screens. For single-select questions, like the Dropdown Menu, the screen will automatically advance after an option is selected. You can turn off this one-at-a-time interaction if you wish.

Dropdown Menu Survey Taking on Mobile 1Dropdown Menu Survey Taking on Mobile 2


Dropdown Menus report as a Pie Chart, by default, with a table that includes a count and percent for each answer option.

Dropdown Menu Reporting Output

 See additional compatible chart types

 See what other report types are compatible

The below grid shows which of the our report types Dropdown Menu questions are compatible with. If you plan to do some specific analysis within SurveyGizmo this report compatibility chart should help you choose the right question types.

Report TypeCompatible
Legacy Summary 



The default Dropdown Menu is single-select, and the export will have a single column of data. However, if multi-select box is enabled, a column will be present for each answer option possible. 

Dropdown Menu Exporting Output

Basic Standard Market Research HR Professional Full Access Reporting
Free Individual Team & Enterprise
Feature Included In