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How to add placeholder text for a Select box in HTML?

Answer: Using the disabled and selected attribute

The placeholder is used to display some short hint in place of the user's input before the user enters any input.

In HTML, there is a placeholder attribute to add the placeholder to the input field and text area. But the select box does not have any placeholder attribute.

In the case of a select box, we can add a placeholder to the select box without the placeholder attribute. In this tutorial, we will learn how to add a placeholder to a select box in HTML.

Creating Placeholder for Select Box

The first way to add a placeholder is by using the disabled and selected attribute. The first <option> element is created with an empty value. This <option> tag is disabled using a disabled attribute and also selected by default using a selected attribute. We will also use the hidden attribute to hide this option while the select box is open. So when you open a select box, the first option will act as a placeholder.

Example: Placeholder for the select box

Here, we have a list of programming languages where the first option act as a placeholder.

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
	<meta charset="utf-8">
    <h2>Placeholder for select box</h2>
	<select name="Program">
	  <option value="disabled selected hidden">Choose program</option>
      <option>Find Palindrome</option>
      <option>Print Fibonacci Series</option>
      <option>Print a Number Pyramid</option>
      <option>Reverse a String</option>


Here is the output of the above program.

Select box placeholder example

Using CSS display property

The second way to add a placeholder to the select box is by using the CSS display property. Use the display:none property to anyone <option> tag in the select box with an empty value. Also, use the selected attribute to select it by default.

Example: Add a placeholder to select box

When you load the page, it will display the value, but you will not be able to select it as it is hidden.


In this tutorial, we have learned the simplest way to add the placeholder to the check box in HTML. We can either add a disabled and selected attribute or add display:none property to one of the <option> tag with empty values to make it a placeholder.