A tip about updating your drop-down fields

With Zendesk you can create a wide range of custom ticket fields: drop-down lists, text, multi-line text, etc. If you want more information about custom ticket fields, feel free to check out Adding and using custom ticket fields.

One of the most frequently used custom fields is the drop-down list. Sometimes the wording of your drop-down field options is not exactly what you wanted, so you may want to edit them across your entire Zendesk. And you can do it by simply changing the wording of your drop-down field options. However, there is one important thing that you should always bear in mind when doing so: never edit the tags of your field options!

When you create a drop-down list, four fields can be reworded in the edit page of your drop-down list, and here they are:

  1. The ticket field title visible to your agents
  2. The ticket field title visible to your end-users
  3. The titles of your field options
  4. The tags of your field options

Like I said, you should never edit the tags of your field options (circled in red in the screenshot below). The tags have the important task of rendering the value of your field options, and if you change them, then you will lose the data on your existing tickets.

On the other hand, the other parts of the drop-down edit page can be reworded (outlined in green below) and the rewording will be automatically applied in bulk on all your existing tickets without loss of data.

For example if you want to give completely different options for the above drop-down list, you can do so by changing the titles of your field options : “General Enquiries”; “Technical issue”; “Refund”; “Job Application”....but their respective tags (“tag1”; “tag2”; “tag3”; “tag4”) should never be edited.

If you have any additional questions, add a comment here or contact our support team at support@zendesk.com

Have more questions? Submit a request


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    Charles DeLachaise

    I discovered this tip after we did the mistake!!!

    How can I solve it ?


    I really don't understand why you let this open like that. If this is a table key, I don't you block or hide it ?




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    Hey Charles: 

    I commented on your ticket to discuss this further. 

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    Is there an easy way to add an option in the middle of your ordered fields? For instance if I have

    • Forgot PW

    • Change Username

    • Alert Notifications

    Is there an easy way to put a new option above "Forgot PW". This is a simplified example, the issue we are having is with a very large number of options. I would think you could drag and drop these fields, but there doesn't seem to be anything to customize order.

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    Other than the alphabetical sort, there's no way to drag/drop or rearrange those field options, which is really annoying. This is something we'll probably change in a future update, since it's incredibly difficult and cumbersome to modify your custom fields. 

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    So the only way to do it is to delete everything below the one you want to add and then enter them again?

    I would say that's a high priority fix needed there, ouch!

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    Tal Admon

    Hi Justin,

    Any timeframe regarding reordering the field options?


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    Brandon K.

    Hey Tal,

    I don't have a timeframe for allowing users to reorder the ticket field options, but I might have a workaround that would help you. When ticket field options are sorted alphabetically, numbers are also sorted according to size and are placed before letters. If you wanted to rearrange your options, you could add numbers before each option and then click 'Sort field options alphabetically by title upon save.' you can rearrange the fields based on the number. If you then go back in, delete the number from the title and save the page without selecting to sort alphabetically, your options will stay where they are.

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    How do i force a choice on a custom drop down box in the ticket fields, ie the agent must select an option?

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    Brandon K.


    If you go to Manage > Ticket fields and either edit your existing ticket field or create a new one, you can require the field to be filled out by your agents by checking the 'Required' field in the 'For agents' section. I've included a screenshot for your convenience.

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    Bryan Koch

    Follow-on question to Gerhard's comment…

    Can you remove the null/default "-" option from drop-down list?

    My drop-down list is required, but if a user can select the "-" option included at the top of every drop-down list by Zendesk, it's not very useful for my agents, triggers, etc.

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    Bryan Koch

    Found an answer to my question on another thread: https://support.zendesk.com/entries/20611326-Adding-and-using-custom-ticket-fields#post\_23560811

    HOWEVER, my fields is marked as required for end-users (screenshot included), so… Zendesk bug?



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    Brandon K.

    Hey Bryan,

    Having your custom field marked as required for end users will only ensure that the field is filled out if it is received via the Web Portal or in some cases the Feedback Tab. If it is received at any other channel (email, social media) we cannot require the end users to enter this information before the ticket is submitted. Do you think you could check the channel that your tickets were received at and let me know if any of the ones with a blank required custom field were received through the web portal? If can figure this out by either creating a view with the condition 'Ticket channel' or viewing the events view of the ticket and looking at where the first comment was received at.


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    Daryl Blowes

    When I create a view that is sorted and/or grouped by a custom drop down the sort order is not alphabetical nor does it match the order they are arranged in the list.   With some experimenting I believe they are sorted in the views by the actual TAG... which is a problem if you don't want it arranged alphabetically by the tag.

    Is this correct and if so how can i get the View to Group and Sort on this field with the order that the values appear in the drop down?

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    Trisha Patel

    Hey Daryl, I see you have a ticket open about this already - we'll follow up there. 

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    Sean McKeever

    Is there a way to reorder the drop downs via API?

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    Joseph May

    @Sean - You sure can! 

    This call: 

    curl https://{subdomain}.zendesk.com/api/v2/ticket_fields/{id}.json -H "Content-Type: application/json" -X PUT -d '{"ticket_field": {"custom_field_options": [{"name": "Option 1", "value": "option_1"}, {"name": "Option 2","value": "option_2"}]}}' -v -u {email_address}:{password}

    is right out of our Developer Docs. All you have to do is reorder the name and corresponding value to the order you desire, so in this case, a reordering would look like this:

    curl https://{subdomain}.zendesk.com/api/v2/ticket_fields/{id}.json -H "Content-Type: application/json" -X PUT -d '{"ticket_field": {"custom_field_options": [{"name": "Option 2", "value": "option_2"}, {"name": "Option 1","value": "option_1"}]}}' -v -u {email_address}:{password}


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    Xenia Chilkowich

    We are having a challenge with the multiple level drop-downs. They only display the lowest level value in the form and sometimes that is not intuitive to the person working the ticket. Is there a way to force the field to display all levels?

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    Jessie Schutz

    Hi Xenia!

    It's not possible to show every possible option at once in multi-level drop-downs. You have to make a selection in order to view the next level, but we've tried to make it as easy as possible to go back if you click the wrong thing; each level has a "back" option at the top of this list that will take you to the previous level.

    What exactly are your agents finding unintuitive about the way the menus work?

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    Cory L

    This is in regard to Joseph's post about how to change the order of the custom field options.

    Is this actual a feature that still works?
    I was testing this and I am unable to make it work, I send the fields up in the desired order and the return is the exact same with no changes at all.
    I am able to make new fields, I just have not been able to see a way to sort those fields. Basically I need a newly added field to be placed at the top of the list (or in the middle as needed) after it has been created.

    I send this information:


    This is what the server returns:
    HTTP/1.1 200 OK


    Wondering if there is actually a way to sort via the API, any help would be great.

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    Daniel Sanders

    If one wanted a category drop-down that dynamically updated from the created Zendesk categories, rather than statically created via the form admin interface, can one use these curl commands within JavaScript to update drop down options such that they submit the updated value correctly?