A Handsome flexible select!

elm-package install Confidenceman02/elm-select 5.4.0



Select things in style!

Single select


Multi select


Single native




Custom views



  • Keyboard accessible
  • Screen reader accessible

Styled with elm-css

In the case your program is not using elm-css already, an extra step will be required to make everything work. You can see how to do that in the Unstyling elm-css section.


Set an initial state in your model.

import Select
import Html exposing (Html)
import Html.Styled as Styled

type Country
    = Australia
    | Japan
    | Taiwan
    -- other countries

type alias Model =
    {  selectState : Select.State
    ,  items : List (Select.MenuItem Country)
    ,  selectedCountry : Maybe Country

init : Model
init = 
    {  selectState = Select.initState
    ,  items = 
           [ basicMenuItem 
                { item = Australia, label = "Australia" }
           , basicMenuItem
                { item = Japan, label = "Japan" }
           , basicMenuItem
                { item = Taiwan, label = "Taiwan" }
    ,  selectedCountry = Nothing

Add a branch in your update to handle Msg's from the view.

When updating, elm-select will return a Maybe Select.Action, Select.State and Cmd Select.Msg that need to be handled.

Ignoring the maybeAction for now, the update below shows how to persist the updatedSelectState and map the selectCmds's to your programs Cmd Msg's.

type Msg 
    = SelectMsg (Select.Msg Country)
    -- your other Msg's

update : Msg -> Model -> (Model, Cmd Msg)
update msg model =
    case msg of
        SelectMsg selectMsg ->
                (maybeAction, updatedSelectState, selectCmds) = 
                    Select.update selectMsg model.selectState
            ({ model | selectState = updatedSelectState }
             , SelectMsg selectCmds

Handle the Action in your update

Adding to the example above, the update is handling the maybeAction value. This Action value represents an event that you may want to react to.

Because there is a Country type to represent the menu list items of the Select, we presumably want to know what country someone is from. To know when a country is selected we are interested in the Select action.

The Select action will contain the Country value that you can persist in your model to track what has been selected.

update : Msg -> Model -> (Model, Cmd Msg)
update msg model =
    case msg of
        SelectMsg selectMsg ->
                (maybeAction, selectState, selectCmds) = 
                    Select.update selectMsg model.selectState

                newModel =
                    case maybeAction of 
                        Just (Select someCountry) ->
                            { model | selectedCountry = Just someCountry }
                        Just (ClearSingleSelectItem someCountry) -> 
                            -- handle cleared 
                        Just (DeselectMultiItem) -> 
                            -- handle deselected 
                        Just (InputChange value) -> 
                            -- handle InputChange
                        Nothing ->
            (newModel, SelectMsg selectCmds)

Render your Select view

The select view functions first argument is a Select.Config Country value which can be built using our model.

selectedCountryToMenuItem : Country -> Select.MenuItem Country
selectedCountryToMenuItem country =
    case country of 
        Australia -> 
            basicMenuitem { item = Australia, label = "Australia" }

        Japan -> 
            basicMenuitem { item = Japan, label = "Japan" }

        Taiwan -> 
            basicMenuitem { item = Taiwan, label = "Taiwan" }

        -- other countries
renderSelect : Model -> Styled.Html (Select.Msg Country)
renderSelect model =
        ((Select.single <| selectedCountryToMenuItem model.selectedCountry)
            |> Select.state model.selectState
            |> Select.menuItems model.items
            |> Select.placeholder "Select your country"
        (selectIdentifier "CountrySelector")

It is required to map the Select.Msg that the Select.view outputs to a Msg type that our view is compatible with.

The single and only Msg we have set up is the SelectMsg (Select.Msg Country) which satisfies the renderSelect messages.

view : Model -> Html Msg
view model = SelectMsg (renderSelect model)

Unstyling elm-css

Because all Elm programs emit Html type messages which are not directly compatible with elm-css Styles.Html type messages, an extra step will be required to make everything compatible.

Elm-css exposes a toUnstyled function that will convert Styled.Html messages to Html messages.

Read more about toUnstyled.

view : Model -> Html Msg
view model = SelectMsg 
        (Styled.toUnstyled <| renderSelect model)

NOTE: You can use elm-select examples as a resource to help you set up Elm programs with elm-css.


Opt in Javascript optimisation

When using a searchable Select, elm-select renders an input element that can accept keyboard input to filter the menu down to a specific menu item.


For stylistic reasons, this input element dynamically adjusts its width to just accommodate the text.

Without a javascript optimization elm-select achieves this via the size attribute on the input element. It's performant but not a completely ideal solution.

You can see by the gif below, the input width is always a little wider than the text. This is because the size attribute sets the width of the input element to a value that relates to a characters average size.

To allow for characters that are above average in size, elm-select exaggerates the size value to ensure no text outgrows the dynamic input width, but there may exist some edge cases where this doesn't happen.


Other pure Elm ways to achieve this involved querying DOM elements but it was found not to be a performant way to dynamically size the input as someone types. This due to how slow DOM queries are compared to how fast someone can input text. The result's were usually an input that widens slower than the text is typed which creates a lagging feel.

When you opt in to the Javascript optimization you get a zero lag, performant, dynamically sized input with a guarantee that text will never outgrow the input element width.

Javascript size: (1.3kb minified + gzipped).

Optimized example


Opting in to Javascript optimization

Your project will need a package.json file to use the @confidenceman02/elm-select npm package. You can use the example code as a reference to set up your project.

Set the jsOptimize flag wherever you are using initState.

By default the flag is False.

init : Model
init = 
    {  selectState = Select.initState |> Select.jsOptimize True
    ,  items = 
           [ basicMenuitem 
                { item = Australia, label = "Australia" }
           , basicMenuItem
                { item = Japan, label = "Japan" }
           , basicMenuitem
                { item = Taiwan, label = "Taiwan" }
    ,  selectedCountry = Nothing

Importing the package

In your projects root directory:

npm install @confidenceman02/elm-select

Using the package

Import the minified script directly into your projects html file.

<!DOCTYPE html>
    <meta charset="utf-8">

    <script src="/node_modules/@confidenceman02/elm-select/dist/dynamic.min.js"></script>
    <script src="index.js"></script>

Alternatively, you can import the module wherever you are initiating your Elm program.

import { Elm } from "./src/Main";
import "@confidenceman02/elm-select"

  node: document.querySelector("main"),
  flags: // your flags