Custom auto-complete select box for AngularJS and Bootstrap
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axel-zarate Merge pull request #54 from softdevca/master
Tab selects item, clears search on selection
Latest commit 8998723 Jun 2, 2017

AngularJS Custom Select Directive

Custom auto-complete select box for AngularJS and Bootstrap.

Custom Select is inspired in the AngularJS select directive and adds extra functionality such as filtering and item templates.

Unlike many other autocomplete controls out there, this one is designed to work well with Id/Value objects, where you care about the Id in your model but you want to display a different value in the view.

Using Custom Select

For the simpler scenarios, using Custom Select is very similar to using the built-in AngularJS select directive. For client-side filtering, you can use a regular Angular filter in conjunction with the $searchTerm local variable provided by the custom select, which corresponds to the text entered into the search textbox; or you can use a function in your $scope that implements a custom filtering logic and returns the filtered items.

Simple objects

<div custom-select="f for f in fruits | filter: $searchTerm" ng-model="fruit">

Complex objects

<div custom-select=" as for s in states | filter: { name: $searchTerm }" ng-model="state">

Custom filtering

<div custom-select="p as for p in findPeople($searchTerm)" ng-model="people">
$scope.findPeople = function (term) {
	// Suppose we have a people array
	var found = [];
	for (var i = 0; i < people.length; i++) {
		if (/* search all properties you like */) {
	return found;

Enable adding items

<div custom-select="g for g in growable | filter: $searchTerm" ng-model="custom1" custom-select-options="growableOptions">
$scope.growable = ['Item 1', 'Item 2', 'Item 3'];
$scope.growableOptions = {
	addText: 'Add new item',
	onAdd: function () {
		var newItem = 'Item ' + ($scope.growable.length + 1);
		return newItem;

Asynchronous (server-side) filtering

You need to use a function just as you would for a custom filter, with the difference that, given the asynchronous nature of AJAX, such function must return a promise. As soon as the promise is resolved, the new items (if any) are displayed inside the list.

<div custom-select="a for a in searchAsync($searchTerm)" custom-select-options="{ 'async': true }" ng-model="custom2">
$scope.searchAsync = function (term) {
	var url = '' + encodeURIComponent(term);
	return $http.get(url); // This server call must return an array of objects

Note: It is important that you set the async option to true to disable eager searching (and reduce the number of server calls).

Custom item template

Whatever markup you put inside the element decorated with the custom-select attribute, acts as an item template. You have access to any AngularJS directive or filter inside this template.

<div custom-select="t as for t in people | filter: { name: $searchTerm }" ng-model="person">
	<div class="pull-left" style="width: 40px">
		<img ng-src="{{ t.picture }}" style="width: 30px" />
	<div class="pull-left">
		<strong>{{ }}</strong><br />
		<span>{{ }}</span>
	<div class="clearfix"></div>
$scope.people = [
	{ name: 'John Doe', phone: '555-123-456', picture: '' },
	{ name: 'Axel Zarate', phone: '888-777-6666', picture: '' },
	{ name: 'Walter White', phone: '303-111-2222', picture: '' }

Reacting to items being selected

<div custom-select="g for g in nestedItemsLevel1 | filter: $searchTerm" custom-select-options="level1Options"
$scope.level1Options = {
	onSelect: function (item) {
		// We're simulation the population of the nested options
		var items = [];
		for (var i = 1; i <= 5; i++) {
			items.push(item + ': ' + 'Nested ' + i);
		$scope.nestedItemsLevel2 = items;


Name Type Details
displayText String Placeholder text to display in the select box when there is no item is selected. Default: 'Select...'.
emptyListText String Message to display in the dropdown when there source array is empty. Default: 'There are no items to display'.
emptySearchResultText String Message to display in the dropdown when the search filter yields zero results (the difference with emptyListText is that there may be items in the data source, but none of them match the search string). Default: 'No results match "$0"'.
addText String Text to display on the add button; additionally, onAdd callback function must be supplied. Default: 'Add'.
onAdd Function A callback function to execute when the Add button is pressed. Default: undefined.
searchDelay Integer Time in milliseconds to wait until the filtering is performed. Default: 300 (0.3 seconds).
onSelect Function Callback function invoked when the user selects an item from the dropdown.
async Boolean Indicates whether the search filter is asynchronous or not; setting this option to true will limit the number of times the search function is evaluated (it will only run when the user types something in the search box).

Additional attributes

Name Details
cs-depends-on Used to specify a scope variable to listen for changes. When a change is detected, the selected value and matches in the directive (if any) are reset. Useful for cascading select elements (like country/state/city) or any other scenario where you need to force item and/or filter evaluation.

Changing options globally

The configuration options can be set per directive instance but also globally by means of customSelectDefaults. You can override the default options at some point in your application (usually the module's run callback or in a localization file):

var app = angular.module('myApp');['customSelectDefaults', function(customSelectDefaults) {
	customSelectDefaults.displayText = 'Seleccionar...';
	customSelectDefaults.emptyListText = 'No hay resultados';
	customSelectDefaults.emptySearchResultText = 'Ningún resultado para "$0"';
	customSelectDefaults.addText = 'Agregar';
	customSelectDefaults.searchDelay = 500;


  • jQuery
  • AngularJS
  • Twitter Bootstrap (2.x or 3.x)