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Create a dependent dropdown list

A dependent dropdown list (or picklist) is one in which the items that can be selected from the list are determined by an earlier selection made on a driver line item.

The relationship can be set up as a many-to-many mapping. This is where a single item, selected on the filtered line item, can result in many available selections for the dependent dropdown list. In addition, an item in the dependent dropdown list could be made available from multiple different items in the driver list.

The difference between setting up a many-to-many dependent dropdown list and other picklists is that a separate list is created to map the relationships (rather than configuring the filter list).

Dependent dropdown lists can only be created from list-formatted line items.

The method for creating a dependent dropdown list involves three lists:

  • a driver list that presents all items in the list to the user for them to make an initial selection,
  • a filter list that, based on the value selected in the driver list, displays a subset of its values from which a second selection is made, and
  • a valid combinations list that maps the relationship between the items in the driver list and the items in the filter list.

This topic explains:

Configure a dependent dropdown list

  1. Create a driver list, a filter list, and a valid combinations list and add list items to each list.
    It’s possible to use a composite hierarchy for the valid combinations list (with no additional properties): the parent in the hierarchy is the driver list and the child, the valid combinations list, is the filtered list.
  2. Add properties to the valid combinations list: a driver property, list-formatted to the driver list; and a filter property, list-formatted to the filter list.
  3. Click the Grid View tab to assign relationships between the list items. Use the dropdown in the driver column to select an item, then select a corresponding value from the filter column. Continue until all valid combinations have been mapped.
  4. Create a new module with the driver and filter lists on columns and add two line items (one for the driver list and one for the filter list).
  5. Click the Blueprint icon on the toolbar to configure the driver and filter line items.
    • Select the driver line item and in the Format field, click the ellipsis.
      The Format dialog displays.
    • From the Type dropdown, select List; from the List dropdown, select the driver list; and click OK.
    • Select the filter line item and in the Format field, click the ellipsis.
      The Format dialog displays.
    • From the Type dropdown, select List; from the List dropdown, select the filter list; and select the Filter: Dependent check box.
      Further options are displayed.
      If the selections made are a valid combination, examples of the relationship are displayed. If more than one set of dependent dropdown lists are configured in a model, it will be necessary to select the required line item properties from the Properties that define valid combinations dropdowns.
The configuration in a Format field can be copied between line items in module Blueprint. Unlike Dependent filtering, which cannot be enabled in a copy action, Selective Access filtering will be enabled: it does not rely on manual intervention.

The Format dialog

When setting up a dependent relationship, understanding the data displayed in the Format dialog is key to ensuring that filtering works as you want it to.

  1. The heading shows that this is the Format for the named line item.
  2. Type: the type of line item — for filtered picklists, this will be List.
  3. List: the name of the filter list.
  4. Filter: whether the filter will be based on Selective Access; be a Dependent filter; or whether users can choose the Show All option at the bottom of the dropdown: Allow access to unfiltered items.
  5. Filter line item based on the data in: the name of the driver line item.
  6. Properties that define valid combinations: the name of the driver list property.
  7. Properties that define valid combinations: the name of the filter list property.
  8. Examples of valid combinations are displayed to help you choose the correct configuration. If more than one set of filtered picklists are configured in a model, it will be necessary to select appropriate values from the Properties that define valid combinations dropdowns.
  9. Click OK to apply the choice. Click Cancel to discard all changes.

Example

To illustrate the concepts underpinning the creation of a dependent dropdown list, a simple example, using the relationships between people, the roles they are assigned, and the compensation plan related to the role is illustrated here.

The module to illustrate this requires four lists: Employees, Roles, Compensation Plans, and Compensation Plan Lookup. The list, Employees, is not part of the process for creating a dependent dropdown list, and isn’t mentioned in that process, but is part of the structure of the module.

In a module grid, having a selected an Employee and a Role, valid compensation plans for that role are displayed in the Compensation Plan dropdown.

For this example, we assume you have a model created and that it contains a list, Employees.

  1. Create a driver list (Roles), a filter list (Compensation Plans), and a valid combinations list (Compensation Plans Lookup) and add list items to each list.

  2. Add properties to Compensation Plans Lookup: a driver property list-formatted to Role; and a filter property list-formatted to Compensation Plan.

  3. Click the Grid View tab to assign relationships between the list items. Each item in Compensation Plans Lookup is displayed down the left of the screen and, displayed to the right of the screen, a column each for Role and Compensation Plan. Use the dropdown in the Role column to select an item, then select a corresponding value from the Compensation Plan column. Continue until all valid combinations have been mapped.

  4. Create a module with the Employees list on rows, and add two line items: Role and Compensation Plan.
  5. Click the Blueprint icon on the toolbar to configure the Roles line item.
    • Select the line item, Role, and in the Format field, click the ellipsis. The Format dialog displays.
    • From the Type dropdown, select List; from the List dropdown, select Role; and click OK.

    • To configure the Compensation Plan line item, select Compensation Plans and in the Format field, click the ellipsis. The Format dialog displays.
    • From the Type dropdown, select List; from the List dropdown, select Compensation Plan; and select the Filter: Dependent checkbox. Further options are displayed:

      If the selections made are a valid combination, examples of the relationship are displayed. If more than one set of filtered picklists are configured in a model, it will be necessary to select the required properties from the Properties that define valid combinations dropdowns.
  6. Click OK to save all changes.

The Format dialog for the example

This dialog shows the configuration for our example.

The heading shows that this is the Format for the line item Compensation Plan (1). The line item Type is a List (2), and that List is Compensation Plan (3).

The Filter is Dependent (4).

The options presented in the line item dropdown, Compensation Plan, are dependent on the selection made in the line item Role (5).

The properties on the list Compensation Plan that define the relationships between list items are Role (Driver) (6) and Compensation Plan (7).

The table beneath (8) shows examples of items in the driver list, Role mapped to items in the filter list, Compensation Plan, to check that the mapping is as expected. If more than one set of filtered picklists are configured in a model, it will be necessary to select Compensation Plans Lookup properties from the Properties that define valid combinations dropdowns.

Troubleshooting

  • Where items are not mapped and the field is blank, when a user selects that item, the dropdown list will display No Results.
  • Filter items are reliant on a driver item being selected first. If you don't select a driver item from a dropdown and the cell is empty, then attempt to select an item from the filter dropdown list, the system will display No Results.