How to Make a Dropdown Menu

Have you seen those dropdown menus? Do you wonder how the authors did it?

Here is an easy method. It does not require JavaScript, which is just as well, since some of your visitors do not or cannot use JavaScript. You don't have to know how to program CGI scripts. You don't need access to cgi-bin on your server.

This is a simple FORM with a SELECT list, and utilizes a free CGI redirection service. In the first example, I am using JumpBox from WWWToolz.

Other WWWToolz services include form processing and visitor polling, all free of cost and ad-free. You must register to use WWWToolz.

Unlike some other FORMs, JumpBox uses METHOD=GET. See the notes below regarding the use of METHOD=POST. Using METHOD=GET works seamlessly in all browsers. JumpBox, however, also asks to set a cookie. This means that JumpBox will not work in versions of Lynx prior to 2.7.

The basic structure is:

<FORM METHOD=POST ACTION="[URL which invokes the CGI script]">
<P>Choose your destination:<BR>
<SELECT NAME="[varies according to remote host]">
<OPTION VALUE="[full URL 1]">Destination 1
<OPTION VALUE="[full URL 2]">Destination 2
<OPTION VALUE="[full URL 3]">Destination 3
<INPUT TYPE="submit" VALUE="Go!">

And the result is something like the following:


Choose your destination:

A few notes:

In many cases, the URLs must be absolute, that is, completely spelled out, and not relative, because the script is running on a remote server for the vast majority of us. Check any documentation offered at the site.

Most of these CGI scripts use a 302 (temporarily moved) message to redirect a POST. As far as I know, this method causes problems for only the CERN line mode browser and Lynx 2.6. Older versions of Lynx, before 2.6, handle the redirection silently. The menu doesn't look very pretty in Lynx 2-4-2 and 2.5, but it works. Lynx 2.7 users should choose G for "Get"; selecting P ("Proceed") will result in a 501 error message--basically saying that you cannot POST to something that's not a script.

If you can find a CGI form-to-mail server that allows you to specify a "thank you" page on your own server, and does not require e-mailing results to anyone, you could adapt it for a dropdown menu.

Other remotely-hosted CGI scripts are set up especially for this sort of redirection. Here are some other free CGI redirection services:


From, which also offers random links. You must register to use their scripts. Registration is free.

Choose your destination:


From CGI For Me!, which also offers random links. The owner asks that you register as a member of CGI For Me! Registration is free and confidential. You will not get junk e-mail as a result of registering. While you're there, take a look at the other scripts at CGI For Me!

Choose your destination:

Link Box

From ScriptHost, which also offers form processing. You must register to use their scripts. Registration is free.

Choose your destination:


From Cut and Paste Scripts, who also offer form processing and random links. You must register. Registration is free. For this redirection script, you must also use their wizard, which assigns numbers to pairs of URLs and titles.

Choose your destination:

Try the different servers out, visit their home pages, see which one you like best. Have fun!

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Dropdown Menu / Revised 12 January 2004 / © Copyright 1999-2004, Elizabeth T. Knuth / URL: