Django Admin: Displaying Dropdown List for ForeignKey Fields

What will you learn?

In this tutorial, you will learn how to customize the Django admin interface to display a dropdown list instead of an unordered list for ForeignKey fields. This enhancement can greatly improve user experience and streamline data selection within the Django admin panel.

Introduction to the Problem and Solution

By default, Django admin represents ForeignKey fields as unordered lists. However, if you prefer a dropdown list for better usability, customization is required. The solution involves creating a custom form that inherits from ModelForm and overriding the widget used to render ForeignKey fields.

To implement this solution: 1. Create a custom form (CustomModelForm) with a specified widget for the ForeignKey field. 2. Register your model with the customized form in the Django admin site.

By utilizing forms.Select() as the widget for ForeignKey fields instead of the default forms.SelectMultiple, you can seamlessly display dropdown lists in Django admin.


# Import required modules
from django import forms
from django.contrib import admin

class CustomModelForm(forms.ModelForm):
    class Meta:
        model = YourModelName

        widgets = {
            'foreign_key_field_name': forms.Select(),

class YourModelAdmin(admin.ModelAdmin):
    form = CustomModelForm

    # Other admin configurations like list_display, search_fields, etc.

# Copyright PHD

Note: Replace YourModelName and foreign_key_field_name with your actual model name and foreign key field name respectively.


To enhance how ForeignKey fields are displayed in Django admin: – Create a custom form specifying forms.Select() as the widget for ForeignKey fields. – This approach allows tailored representation of data, offering users an intuitive selection process within the Django admin panel.

    1. How do I determine my actual model name? You can find your model’s name by examining its definition in your file.

    2. Can I apply this customization only on specific models? Yes, create different custom forms for various models and register them accordingly in the Django admin site.

    3. Will this affect other parts of my application using these models? No, this customization is limited to how models are displayed in Django admin and does not impact other areas using these models.

    4. Is there an alternative way to achieve similar results without creating a custom form? Yes, explore options like overriding methods or properties within your ModelAdmin class based on specific needs.

    5. Can I further enhance the appearance of my dropdown list? Yes, utilize CSS styles or JavaScript libraries within project templates to enhance visual aspects further if needed.


Enhancing how ForeignKey fields are presented in Django Admin enables developers to refine user interaction within administrative interfaces effectively. By leveraging customization through forms and widgets, applications can be tailored based on design preferences or usability requirements with ease.

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