What Data Type Is a Drop Down List?


Larry Thompson

What Data Type Is a Drop Down List?

A drop down list is a commonly used form element in HTML. It allows users to select one option from a list of predefined values.

But what data type does a drop down list represent? Let’s explore this question in detail.

HTML Select Element

The HTML select element is used to create a drop down list. It is represented by the <select> tag. This tag contains one or more <option> tags, which define the individual options within the drop down list.

String Data Type

In HTML, the data type of a drop down list is always string. This means that regardless of what the options represent (numbers, dates, or any other type of value), they will be treated as strings when retrieved from the form submission.

Implicit Type Conversion

When you access the selected value of a drop down list using JavaScript, it is important to note that any numeric values stored as options will be returned as strings. This can sometimes lead to unexpected behavior if you are performing mathematical operations or comparisons with these values.

Numeric Values in Drop Down Lists

If you need to work with numeric values in your drop down list, it’s best to explicitly convert them to numbers using JavaScript functions like parseInt() or parseFloat(). This ensures that you are working with the correct data type and avoids any potential issues caused by implicit type conversion.

Data Validation

Data validation is an important aspect when working with forms and user input. When using a drop down list, it is essential to validate the selected value to ensure it meets the required criteria. This can be done using JavaScript by checking if the selected value exists in the list of options or by applying specific validation rules based on your application’s requirements.


A drop down list in HTML represents a string data type. It is crucial to understand this when working with form submissions and performing any operations or validations on the selected value. By using appropriate JavaScript functions and data validation techniques, you can ensure that your drop down list behaves as expected and provides a smooth user experience.

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