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The autocomplete component is an input field that provides selectable options as a user types into it. It allows users to quickly search through and select from large collections of options.

Table of contents

How to use Autocomplete

The Autocomplete requires 3 props to work:

  • items: It’s an array containing the items that will be shown as selectable options when the user types something in the TextInput.
  • onInputValueChange: This function will be called every time the user types something in the input. The component will pass the item, which the filter method is currently iterating over, and the inputValue prop of the TextInput component.
  • onSelectItem: This function is called when the user selects one of the options of the list. The component will pass the selected item as an argument to the function.

An Autocomplete with a list of fruits will look like this:

Best practices

  • Autocomplete should have a clear label so user understands what type of action is possible
  • Consider using autocomplete over selects if a user will be choosing from a very long list, for example a country list.

Code examples

Using objects as items

On the example in the "How to use Autocomplete" section, we showed how to create an Autocomplete with an array of string but it’s also possible to use other types of data as items. A very common way of using the Autocomplete is with objects and for that, with a few changes to the Fruit’s example this can be done:

Both itemToString and renderItem are necessary when passing objects as items and they both will receive an "item" as an argument.

If you are using Typescript, you can tell the Autocomplete what is the type of your items to make these functions strongly typed. You can do that by writing the component like this <Autocomplete<ItemType> {...props}/>

Highlighting an item with getStringMatch

A common use case for Autocomplete components is to highlight in each suggestion what is typed in the input. Using the previous example, if a user types "ana" we want to show a list of suggestions where only "ana" is bold. This is possible by using the renderItem prop and the getStringMatch utility function:

// We need to import the function from the `f36-utils` package
import { getStringMatch } from '@contentful/f36-utils';
import { Autocomplete } from '@contentful/f36-autocomplete';
// Everything stays the same, besides the `renderItem` prop
itemToString={(item) =>}
// Two arguments are provided to the `renderItem` prop: the item and the inputValue
renderItem={(item, inputValue) => {
// we pass `` and the inputValue to getStringMatch and the util will return an object
// for our example, for the "Banana" item this will return { before: 'B' , match: 'ana', after: 'na' }
const { before, match, after } = getStringMatch(, inputValue);
// Finally, we return a ReactNode
// this will return `<>B<b>ana</b>na 🍌</>` (the "ana" will be bold)
return (
{after} {item.emoji}

Filling in a list of items

Using grouped objects as items

As an extension of "Use objects as items" section, you are also able to use a nested object to group your entries. The most important part of making this work is the shape of the grouped object. The options themselves work exactly as in the object example and require the itemToString and renderItem functions. Besides the correct shape of the object the Autocomplete component needs to receive the prop isGrouped

Error validation with FormControl

Fetching async data

Content recommendations

  • Autocomplete label should be short, contain 1 to 3 words
  • Label should be written in a sentence case (the first word capitalized, the rest lowercase)


  • dismisses the dropdown when selecting with the enter key


It’s an array of data to be used as "options" by the autocomplete component. defined as any, because in this moment we do not know if items is a group
onSelectItemrequired(item: T) => voidThis is the function that will be called when the user selects one of the "options" in the list. It receives the selected item as an argument and it needs to return a string that will be set as the value of `TextInput`.
If this is set to `true` the text input will be cleared after an item is selected
defaultValuestringSet's default value for text input
idstringSets the id of the input
(instance: HTMLInputElement) => void
Use this prop to get a ref to the input element of the component
Applies disabled styles
Tells if the item is a object with groups
Applies invalid styles
Sets the list to show its loading state
Applies read-only styles
Validate the input
itemToString(item: T) => stringWhen using objects as `items`, we recommend passing a function that tells Downshift how to extract a string from those objetcs to be used as inputValue
listMaxHeight180numberIt sets the max-height, in pixels, of the list The default value is the height of 5 single line items
(instance: HTMLUListElement) => void
Use this prop to get a ref to the list of items of the component
It sets the width of the list
noMatchesMessage"No matches"stringA message that will be shown when it is not possible to find any option that matches the input value
onInputValueChange(value: string) => voidFunction called whenever the input value changes
placeholder"Search"stringThis is the value will be passed to the `placeholder` prop of the input.
renderItem(item: T, inputValue: string) => ReactNodeThis is the function that will be called for each "item" passed in the `items` prop. It receives the "item" and "inputValue" as arguments and returns a ReactNode. The inputValue is passed in case you want to highlight the match on the render.
(instance: HTMLButtonElement) => void
Use this prop to get a ref to the toggle button of the component
classNamestringCSS class to be appended to the root element
styleCSSPropertiesAccepts a JavaScript object with camelCased properties rather than a CSS string
testIdstringA [data-test-id] attribute used for testing purposes