Using Form Menus
One of the most popular means of providing options in forms is the all-familiar drop-down menu. Menus of this sort are especially helpful when you have numerous options, and they are typically seen in standard menus for states, countries, pricing and so on.
Drop-down menus are created by combining your selections with the select and option elements (see Example 5-8).
Example 5-8. A drop-down form menu
<form method="get" action="http://www.myserver.com/cgi-bin/mailscript/"> <p>State (U.S. Western Region):</p> <select> <option value="Arizona">Arizona</option> <option value="California">California</option> <option value="Colorado">Colorado</option> <option value="Nevada">Nevada</option> <option value="Texas">Texas</option> <option value="Utah">Utah</option> </select> </form>
Figure 5-7 displays the drop-down menu.
Figure 5-7. Selecting from a drop-down form menu.
You can add other features to your drop-down menu, including preselected choices. As with the checked attribute for check boxes, preselection can assist with your form's usability by providing a more custom approach. To preselect a specific option within a form menu, simply use the selected attribute:
<option value="Nevada" selected="selected">Nevada</option>
This causes Nevada to appear as the default selection in a drop-down form menu (see Figure 5-8).
Figure 5-8. Use the select attribute to create a default selection in a drop-down menu.
You can also create a list menu. This is prepared exactly the same way a drop-down form menu is, but you add the size attribute with a numeric value that matches the number of options to the opening select tag:
<select size="6" multiple="multiple">
The menu now becomes a menu list, allowing your visitor to make multiple selections (see Figure 5-9).
Figure 5-9. A menu list with multiple options selected.