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Rails – Country Select

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Provides a simple helper to get an HTML select list of countries using the ISO 3166-1 standard.

While the ISO 3166 standard is a relatively neutral source of country names, it may still offend some users. Developers are strongly advised to evaluate the suitability of this list given their user base.


An important message about upgrading from 1.x

Reporting issues

Open an issue on the issue tracker. Ideally provide versions used, and code example that demonstrates the issue.


Install as a gem using

gem install country_select

Or put the following in your Gemfile

gem 'country_select'


Simple use supplying model and attribute as parameters:

country_select("user", "country")

Supplying priority countries to be placed at the top of the list:

country_select("user", "country", priority_countries: ["GB", "FR", "DE"])

Supplying only certain countries:

country_select("user", "country", only: ["GB", "FR", "DE"])

Discarding certain countries:

country_select("user", "country", except: ["GB", "FR", "DE"])

Pre-selecting a particular country:

country_select("user", "country", selected: "GB")

Supplying additional html options:

country_select("user", "country", { priority_countries: ["GB", "FR"], selected: "GB" }, { class: 'form-control', data: { attribute: "value" } })

Using a custom formatter

You can define a custom formatter which will receive an ISO3166::Country

# config/initializers/country_select.rb
CountrySelect::FORMATS[:with_alpha2] = lambda do |country|
  "#{} (#{country.alpha2})"
country_select("user", "country", format: :with_alpha2)

ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 codes

The option tags use ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 codes as values and the country names as display strings. For example, the United States would appear as <option value="US">United States of America</option>

Country names are automatically localized based on the value of I18n.locale thanks to the wonderful countries gem.

Current translations include:

  • en
  • de
  • es
  • fr
  • it
  • ja
  • nl

In the event a translation is not available, it will revert to the globally assigned locale (by default, "en").

This is the only way to use country_select as of version 2.0. It is the recommended way to store your country data since it will be resistant to country names changing.

The locale can be overridden locally:

country_select("user", "country_code", locale: 'es')

Getting the Country Name from the countries gem

class User < ActiveRecord::Base

  # Assuming country_select is used with User attribute `country_code`
  # This will attempt to translate the country name and use the default
  # (usually English) name if no translation is available
  def country_name
    country = ISO3166::Country[country_code]
    country.translations[I18n.locale.to_s] ||


Example Application

An example Rails application demonstrating the different options is available at scudco/country_select_test. The relevant view files live here.



bundle exec rake

Updating gemfiles

The default rake task will run the tests against multiple versions of Rails. That means the gemfiles need occasional updating, especially when changing the dependencies in the gemspec.

for i in gemfiles/*.gemfile
BUNDLE_GEMFILE=$i bundle install --no-deployment

Copyright (c) 2008 Michael Koziarski, released under the MIT license


Gemification of rails's country_select







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