I feel like this should be an easy one but am having trouble finding the answer here and via Google. Using jQuery, how do I retrieve the currently selected value from a dropdown in an EditForm/NewForm. The dropdown is a lookup column?

I've tried:


Which returns a static value; if the drop down is changed, it won't alter the val() output.

I found this answer but I am using SP2007. I need to be able to get the lookup ID/name pair from the dropdown in order to update another record from a different list using SPServices and GetListItems.

  • You'd need an onchange or blur function if you need to check the value again. Commented Mar 15, 2013 at 20:47
  • Is it rendering as an input tag or a select tag? Commented Mar 15, 2013 at 20:59
  • Have you tried $('#my_lookup_input_id :selected').val() ?
    – James Love
    Commented Mar 15, 2013 at 21:01
  • @andrew.petersen15 - it is rendered as an input tag.
    – thornomad
    Commented Mar 18, 2013 at 14:27

4 Answers 4


Use the F12 tools. Depending how many values are in your Lookup Field SharePoint will render it differently. I do believe the thershold is 20 items.

Under 20 the Lookup will render as a Select field. ex $("select[title='"+ fieldTitle +"']").val();

Over 20 ex $("input[title='"+ fieldTitle +"']").val();

if you want to get the ids of the input there is a attribute "optHid". Here is samples to get all values and ids. choices = $("input[title='" +fieldTitle +"']").attr("choices"); hiddenInput = $("input[title='" +fieldTitle +"']").attr("optHid");

$("#my_lookup_input_id option:selected").val()

This should get the selected value but as indicated by PirateEric you would need to call this again if the value changes.

  • So - that doesn't work for me. If I do $("#my_lookup_input_id").val() I get the original value but if I do $("#my_lookup_input_id option:selected").val() I get undefined. (same for just :selected).
    – thornomad
    Commented Mar 18, 2013 at 14:28

So, after some more digging this morning and banging my head I found a solution using SPServices. First, convert the field from a complex to a simple drop down:

    columnName: "myColumn"

Then, you can get the ID (and then the value) by using what SPServices has cleverly injected:


I'm still not sure of a way to do this without SPServices but I think it has to do with how SharePoint is doing funny business with the input field.

PS: set the value

If you want to set the value of the dropdown you need to fire the change() event after setting it so the internal code gets tapped.

  • Glad you are sorted but there is definitely something odd going on because I have just tested a standard 2010 create and edit form with a lookup column and they are rendered as select tags. Commented Mar 18, 2013 at 20:46
  • 1
    @DavePaylor - I am using 2007, maybe that's the difference? It generates a strange input field with lookups of more than 20 items that has a hidden input field that manages the value changes via javascript. Or something.
    – thornomad
    Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 0:11
  • i am having same problem, i am using SharePoint 2010. above script not working for me Commented Apr 29, 2016 at 10:51
$("select[title='Lookup field Title'] :selected").text()

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