In our QuickAdminPanel, we generate the dropdowns with Select2 jQuery library, which gives search capabilities.

select2 dropdown

But what if you have 1,000+ or more entries in that dropdown?
It could potentially even crash your browser when loading.

A better way then is to load the select options only when user starts searching for them, and dropdown would auto-complete the values. That’s exactly what we will build in this article.

Default jQuery code to transform regular select into Select2 is this:

$(document).ready(function() {

Then it would be applied to any tag with select class=”select2-dropdown”.

Now, to load options via AJAX, we need to do two things:

  1. Add some parameters to .select2() call, including URL for AJAX source;
  2. Create API endpoint that would be called via that AJAX, to return options data;

Example project

Let’s take an example project – database of offices, where each office is located in some city.
And we have 1,000 cities in our database:

Laravel cities faker

Now, in the form to create an office, we have a dropdown for cities:

Laravel new office form

Here’s the HTML code for that dropdown:

<select name="city_id" id="city" class="form-control select2"></select>

And jQuery code:

$(document).ready(function () {

Now, let’s take Select2 AJAX Example and adapt it to our scenario, updated jQuery code would be this:

$(document).ready(function() {
        minimumInputLength: 3,
        ajax: {
            url: '{{ route("") }}',
            dataType: 'json',

The most important for us is AJAX URL: route(‘’). Let’s create that in Laravel file routes/api.php:

Route::get('api/v1/cities/search', 'Api\V1\Admin\CitiesApiController@search')

Here’s the code for CitiesApiController.php:

public function search(Request $request)
    $cities = City::where('name', 'LIKE', '%'.$request->input('term', '').'%')
        ->get(['id', 'name as text']);
    return ['results' => $cities];

As you can see, by default API request goes with ?term=xxxx, where xxxx is whatever you’ve inputted in the search box.

And results come as JSON-array “results”, with every result containint columns “id” and “text”, see this format:

  "results": [
      "id": 1,
      "text": "New Vanfort"
      "id": 8,
      "text": "New Iva"
      "id": 14,
      "text": "New Traceychester"

Visually, then, you can choose the result like this:

select2 ajax

And that’s it, your browser is safe – dropdown values will be loaded only when someone is actually searching for them!