Creating Dependent Drop-Down Lists with NetSuite

By - January 21, 2016

If you have used or administered NetSuite for any period of time you are well aware of its flexibility with respect to adding custom fields.  These fields can be configured to use one of many field types, such as Free Form Text, Decimal or even List/Record, which will allow the user to choose a value from a pre-determined list of options.  But, what if you only want the user to see certain options in the list based on a value they already selected in a prior drop-down list?  This is very simple to configure and I’ve outlined all the steps below.

In this example, we are going to assume the company running NetSuite sells sports equipment.  They want to assign all items they sell to a Sport/Activity value for reporting purposes.  Then, they want to assign the item a Product Category, but the list must only show categories that pertain to the already-chosen Sport/Activity.

Step 1

Create a custom List called “Sport/Activity”

Sport_Activity List 1000px

Step 2

Create a Custom Record called “Product Category” and be sure to leave the Include Name Field checked.

Product Category Custom Record 1000px

Step 3

Add one field called “Sport/Activity” to the custom record, give it either a Type of “List/Record” or “Multi-Select”, and select the “Sport/Activity” custom record from the List/Record drop-down list.

Note:  In this example we made this custom record field a Multi-Select field so we could assign the generic Product Category of “Shoes” to more than one Sport/Activity value.  If your dependencies are mutually exclusive, unlike in this example, then you would configure this field using the List/Record field type.

Create Product Category Item Record Field 1000px

Step 4

Create new entries in the newly-created “Product Category” custom record to link all desired Product Categories with their respective Sport/Activity value

Custom Record Entries 1000px Add New Product Category 1000px

Step 5

Create a new Item field for users to select a Sport/Activity on the item record and assign it to the List/Record value of “Sport/Activity.”

Create Sport_Activity Item Record Field 1000px

Step 6

Create a new Item field for users to select a Product Category on the item record and assign it to the List/Record value of “Product Category.”

Create Product Category Item Record Field 1000px

Step 7

This step is critical to make sure that only the appropriate values show in the Product Category list upon selecting a Sport/Activity.  On the Sourcing and Filtering tab of the newly-created Product Category field, configure it to filter as shown below.

Sourcing and Filtering 1000px

Now, we are ready to enter in Sport/Activity and Product Category information for a new item.  In this example, I chose “Football” as my Sport/Activity and we now only see the Product Category values that pertain to Football in our custom record.

Adding New Item 1000px

In this example we chose to assign these fields at the item level but this dependent list concept can be used across all record types in NetSuite that support the use of custom fields.

If you have any NetSuite customization or consulting needs, including the creation of dependent drop-down lists as shown above, the NetSuite professionals at RSM can help.  We are a NetSuite Solution Provider and a NetSuite Systems Integrator partner, and have more than 30 years experience implementing ERP solutions.  We’ll provide you with industry insight, project management and the technical resources you need to make your project a success. Contact RSM at or by phone at 855.437.7202.

By: Gary Leitner – Colorado NetSuite Solution Provider



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