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Drop-down form: what's the name of this part?

     
6:48 pm on Jan 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

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When a select list in a form shows by default an instruction such as "Select" or "Month" (in the drop-down list itself, not text above the drop-down box), what is that called?

For example, if I have a drop-down list of the months of the year and I want the list to display the word "Month" by default (and not be a submitted value), what is that function called?
8:09 am on Jan 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

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<select> and <option> are the tags you seek

Ref: [w3.org...] sections 4.10.9 and 4.10.12
2:19 pm on Jan 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for your reply.

I was concerned that my question was not clear. Your reference led me to what I believe is my answer and I would like confirmation that I'm correct.

I was not seeking how to do it but what the name of that item is.

Is it called a "placeholder" or is it called a "placeholder label option?"
12:09 am on Jan 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Are you asking what it's called in ordinary conversation or what you call it in the HTML code?

In HTML4 the dropdown item that's pre-selected, if any, gets an extra attribute selected = "selected" (equivalent to checked = checked when it's a checkbox).

It sounds as if you're in HTML 5 which adds the "placeholder label option" along with "defaultSelected". The difference depends on whether your user is allowed to stay with the default or has to pick something else.

A "placeholder" alone is essentially the same in 4 and 5 except that in 4 it didn't have a special name. It goes in text-input fields-- which may have different names in HTML 5-- to say things like "Smith, John" or "Explain your problem here".