How do you select a particular option in a SELECT element in jQuery?


If you know the Index, Value or Text. also if you don't have an ID for a direct reference.

This, this and this are all helpful answers.

Example markup

<div class="selDiv">
  <select class="opts">
    <option selected value="DEFAULT">Default</option>
    <option value="SEL1">Selection 1</option>
    <option value="SEL2">Selection 2</option>
5/23/2017 12:10:32 PM

Accepted Answer

A selector to get the middle option-element by value is

$('.selDiv option[value="SEL1"]')

For an index:

$('.selDiv option:eq(1)')

For a known text:

$('.selDiv option:contains("Selection 1")')

EDIT: As commented above the OP might have been after changing the selected item of the dropdown. In version 1.6 and higher the prop() method is recommended:

$('.selDiv option:eq(1)').prop('selected', true)

In older versions:

$('.selDiv option:eq(1)').attr('selected', 'selected')

EDIT2: after Ryan's comment. A match on "Selection 10" might be unwanted. I found no selector to match the full text, but a filter works:

 $('.selDiv option')
    .filter(function(i, e) { return $(e).text() == "Selection 1"})

EDIT3: Use caution with $(e).text() as it can contain a newline making the comparison fail. This happens when the options are implicitly closed (no </option> tag):

<select ...>
<option value="1">Selection 1
<option value="2">Selection 2

If you simply use e.text any extra whitespace like the trailing newline will be removed, making the comparison more robust.

5/12/2019 4:29:15 AM

None of the methods above provided the solution I needed so I figured I would provide what worked for me.

$('#element option[value="no"]').attr("selected", "selected");

You can just use val() method:


By value, what worked for me with jQuery 1.7 was the below code, try this:

$('#id option[value=theOptionValue]').prop('selected', 'selected').change();

There are a number of ways to do this, but the cleanest approach has been lost among the top answers and loads of arguments over val(). Also some methods changed as of jQuery 1.6, so this needs an update.

For the following examples I will assume the variable $select is a jQuery object pointing at the desired <select> tag, e.g. via the following:

var $select = $('.selDiv .opts');

Note 1 - use val() for value matches:

For value matching, using val() is far simpler than using an attribute selector:


The setter version of .val() is implemented on select tags by setting the selected property of a matching option with the same value, so works just fine on all modern browsers.

Note 2 - use prop('selected', true):

If you want to set the selected state of an option directly, you can use prop (not attr) with a boolean parameter (rather than the text value selected):


$option.prop('selected', true);  // Will add selected="selected" to the tag

Note 3 - allow for unknown values:

If you use val() to select an <option>, but the val is not matched (might happen depending on the source of the values), then "nothing" is selected and $select.val() will return null.

So, for the example shown, and for the sake of robustness, you could use something like this

var $select = $('.selDiv .opts');
if ($select.val() == null) {

Note 4 - exact text match:

If you want to match by exact text, you can use a filter with function. e.g.

var $select = $('.selDiv .opts');
    return this.text == "Selection 2";
}).prop('selected', true);

although if you may have extra whitespace you may want to add a trim to the check as in

    return $.trim(this.text) == "some value to match";

Note 5 - match by index

If you want to match by index just index the children of the select e.g.

var $select = $('.selDiv .opts');
var index = 2;
$select.children()[index].selected = true;

Although I tend to avoid direct DOM properties in favour of jQuery nowadays, to future-proof code, so that could also be done as

var $select = $('.selDiv .opts');
var index = 2;
$select.children().eq(index).prop('selected', true);

Note 6 - use change() to fire the new selection

In all the above cases, the change event does not fire. This is by design so that you do not wind up with recursive change events.

To generate the change event, if required, just add a call to .change() to the jQuery select object. e.g. the very first simplest example becomes

var $select = $('.selDiv .opts');

There are also plenty of other ways to find the elements using attribute selectors, like [value="SEL2"], but you have to remember attribute selectors are relatively slow compared to all these other options.


You could name the select and use this:


It should select the option you want.