HTML <datalist> Tag

The HTML <datalist> tag represents a set of option elements that represent predefined options for other controls.

The tag can be used for providing an "autocomplete" feature on form elements. It lets you provide a list of predefined options to the user as they input data.

For example, if a user begins entering text into an input field, a list would drop down with prefilled values that they could choose from. These values are invisible to the user, except those that are relevant to what the user is typing at that moment.

The <datalist> tag was introduced in HTML 5.


The <datalist> tag is written as <datalist id=""></datalist> with any number of <option> tags inserted between the start and end tags. The id attribute provides the ID of the <datalist> element. This ID can be referred to by an <input> element that contains a list attribute. The list attribute references the value of the <datalist> element's id attribute.

Like this:


Basic tag usage

Legacy Support

To provide support for browsers that don't support the <datalist> element, simply place a <select> element inside the <datalist> element.


Attributes can be added to an HTML element to provide more information about how the element should appear or behave.

There are 3 kinds of attributes that you can add to your HTML tags: Element-specific, global, and event handler content attributes.

The <datalist> element accepts the following attributes.

Element-Specific Attributes

This table shows the attributes that are specific to the <datalist> tag/element.


Global Attributes

The following attributes are standard across all HTML5 elements. Therefore, you can use these attributes with the <datalist> tag , as well as with all other HTML tags.

For a full explanation of these attributes, see HTML 5 global attributes.

Event Handler Content Attributes

Event handler content attributes enable you to invoke a script from within your HTML. The script is invoked when a certain "event" occurs. Each event handler content attribute deals with a different event.

Below are the standard HTML5 event handler content attributes.

Again, you can use any of these with the <datalist> element, as well as any other HTML5 element.

For a full explanation of these attributes, see HTML 5 event handler content attributes.

Differences Between HTML 4 & HTML 5

The <datalist> tag is new in HTML5.

For more details see HTML5 <datalist> Tag. Also check out the links to the official specifications below.


Here's a template for the <datalist> tag with all available attributes for the tag (based on HTML5). These are grouped into attribute types, each type separated by a space. In many cases, you will probably only need one or two (if any) attributes. Simply remove the attributes you don't need.

Note that the <datalist> element does not actually have any local attributes (i.e. attributes that are specific to the element), but the following global attributes and event handlers are available to the element (and all other HTML elements).

For more information on attributes for this tag, see HTML5 <datalist> Tag.

Tag Details

For more details about the <datalist> tag, see HTML5 <datalist> Tag.


Here are the official specifications for the <datalist> element.

What's the Difference?

W3C creates "snapshot" specifications that don't change once defined. So the HTML5 specification won't change once it becomes an official recommendation. WHATWG on the other hand, develops a "living standard" that is updated on a regular basis. In general, you will probably find that the HTML living standard will be more closely aligned to the current W3C draft than to the HTML5 specification.