Cascading Drop Down Lists in SharePoint


A common request is the ability to have one drop down list (the child) being filled after another one (the parent) has; this is usually called cascading drop down lists.

There are several solutions for this, most of what I’ve found use JavaScript. It isn’t required, and a very simple solution exists, both for SharePoint 2010 as well as 2013.

Set Up

First, let’s create two lists: Parent and Child. Connect the Child to the Parent through a lookup field that points to the Parent’s ID field and call this lookup Parent. Add some records to it.

SharePoint Designer

On SharePoint Designer create a new web part page. Find some space and add two DropDownList controls:

   1: <asp:DropDownList runat="server" ID="parentList" DataSourceID="parentDataSource" DataTextField="Title" DataValueField="ID" AutoPostBack="true" Width="200px" />
   3: <br/>
   5: <asp:DropDownList runat="server" ID="childList" DataSourceID="childDataSource" DataTextField="Title" DataValueField="ID" Width="200px" EnableViewState="false"/>

Next, add two SPDataSource controls:

   1: <SharePoint:SPDataSource runat="server" DataSourceMode="List" SelectCommand="&lt;View&gt;&lt;/View&gt;" ID="parentDataSource">
   2:     <SelectParameters>
   3:         <asp:Parameter Name="ListID" DefaultValue="{828362D7-E519-4522-86AF-DF90AC023719}"/>
   4:     </SelectParameters>
   5: </SharePoint:SPDataSource>
   7: <SharePoint:SPDataSource runat="server" DataSourceMode="List" SelectCommand="&lt;View&gt;&lt;Query&gt;&lt;Where&gt;&lt;Eq&gt;&lt;FieldRef Name=&quot;Parent&quot;/&gt;&lt;Value Type=&quot;Lookup&quot;&gt;{parent}&lt;/Value&gt;&lt;/Eq&gt;&lt;/Where&gt;&lt;/Query&gt;&lt;/View&gt;" ID="childDataSource">
   8:     <SelectParameters>
   9:         <asp:Parameter Name="ListID" DefaultValue="{F83375F4-D4EB-48AF-8CD9-5E773BC7692F}"/>
  10:         <asp:ControlParameter ControlID="parentList" PropertyName="SelectedValue" Name="parent" />
  11:     </SelectParameters>
  12: </SharePoint:SPDataSource>

Pay attention to a couple of things:

  • We are retrieving lists from the same site, but it is possible to get them from different sites as well, just change the DataSourceMode property and the SelectCommand accordingly;
  • You need to replace the ListID values in each Parameter for the proper ones: the GUID of the Parent list and the GUID of the Child list;
  • I am using the standard ID and Title columns, but you can use whatever you want;
  • If you give other name to the lookup field other than Parent, you need to change the SelectCommand property accordingly (FieldRef element);
  • You can give any name you like to the DropDownList controls, but if you change the name of the parent one, don’t forget to update the ControlID property of the ControlParameter in the child’s SPDataSource;
  • For editing the child SPDataSource’s SelectCommand property, you should use the Tag Properties window, because the XML there is not encoded;
  • Disable View State for the child DropDownList by setting EnableViewState to false;
  • Leave AutoPostBack set to true for the parent DropDownList, this causes the page to reload when the parent changes.


If you prefer to have the parent DropDownList initially unselected, use the following markup instead:

   1: <asp:DropDownList runat="server" ID="parentList" DataSourceID="parentDataSource" DataTextField="Title" DataValueField="ID" AutoPostBack="true" Width="200px" AppendDataBoundItems="true">
   2:     <asp:ListItem Selected="true" Text="" Value="-1"/>
   3: </asp:DropDownList>

AppendDataBoundItems makes sure that any items added from a data source control are appended to any existing ones.

Another useful improvement would be to wrap all controls inside an UpdatePanel. This way, when the parent DropDownList changes, it won’t cause a full page postback.

Of course, you can have any number of nested DropDownList controls, just follow the same logic.



  • I have a custom list that has 4 columns...and the items on those columns are triggered by the previous columns...
    Column 1: Branch
    Column 2: Types of activity
    Column 3: Names of the activities per type
    Column 4: charge code

    Can you expand on the above steps to include the additional columns? Thank you. I need to create a custom list that provides the cascading effect without the jquery codes...Thanks.

  • Hi,
    What do you mean by "items on those columns are triggered by the previous columns"?

  • Hello. Thank’s for useful article. I used this in EditForm.aspx and work correctly but I have problem with NewForm.aspx witch I created also in SharePoint Designer 2010 like EditForm.aspx.
    In EditForm in selectcommand I have this:
    "&lt;Eq&gt;&lt;FieldRef Name=&quot;Projekt&quot;/&gt;&lt;Value Type=&quot;Text&quot;&gt;{@Projekt}&lt;/Value&gt;&lt;/Eq&gt;"
    where field Projekt is Parent. Also I put the same selectcommand into NewForm.aspx and not work. Child DVDropDownList is empty. When I delete above “Eq” I have all items in child field – not cascading.
    Can you help me solution my problem?

  • Hi, Piotrek!
    Well, I have no idea, really... Can you try the CAML query outside the page, with a SPQuery object, or CAML Designer or a similar tool?

  • Hi. I tried CAML Designer but did not help. I thing problem is when adding new item by NewForm.aspx. Parent field Projekt is not saved yet and is empty.
    When I edited item I knew Parent field (is saved).
    I tried other solution with jQuery and works ok for adding new item and edit item:

  • This is quite interesting topic to learn about cascading drop down lists in SharePoint 2013

  • I have a question about cascading in SharePoint 2013, I don not have SharePoint Designer, and then I cannot use
    JQuery. It's posible to do a List with cascading drop down without JQuery?
    Thank you

  • Rob: what do you mean? I am not using jQuery... only plain ASP.NET.

  • Hallo Ricardo: I am not available to use JQuery because I do not have the SharePoint Designer, (is not allwed in my organization) and that means that I do not have acces to put the script, then I must be work only with the standard tools from SharePoint.
    Thank you for your help.

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