Learn How to Create a Split Button Dropdown with CSS

Have you ever wondered how to add a stylish and interactive split button dropdown to your website using CSS? A split button dropdown can enhance user experience and make your website look more professional. In this article, we will guide you through the process of creating a split button dropdown step-by-step, complete with code snippets for a better understanding.

1. Introduction

In this digital era, web developers are continually seeking innovative ways to improve user interactions on their websites. Split button dropdowns are one such element that allows users to choose between two options with just a single button. We will demonstrate how to create a split button dropdown using only CSS, ensuring a lightweight and efficient solution.

2. Understanding Split Button Dropdowns

A split button dropdown comprises a primary action button and a hidden secondary dropdown menu that appears when the user clicks on the primary button. It offers a combination of both the main action and secondary options, saving space and offering a more straightforward user interface.

3. HTML Structure

To start building the split button dropdown, we need to set up the HTML structure. We’ll use a simple HTML button element for the primary action and an unordered list (<ul>) to create the dropdown menu. Here’s the basic structure:

<button class="split-button">Primary Action</button>
<ul class="dropdown-menu">
  <li>Option 1</li>
  <li>Option 2</li>

4. Styling the Button

Next, we’ll add some CSS to style the primary button and make it visually appealing. We’ll use CSS properties like background-color, border, and padding to give the button an attractive appearance. Additionally, we can use the :hover pseudo-class to add subtle effects when the user hovers over the button.

/* CSS for the primary button */
.split-button {
  background-color: #3498db;
  color: #fff;
  border: none;
  padding: 10px 20px;
  cursor: pointer;

.split-button:hover {
  background-color: #2980b9;

5. Adding the Dropdown

Now it’s time to make the secondary dropdown menu appear when the primary button is clicked. We’ll achieve this using CSS and the :focus pseudo-class. The display property will be set to block when the button is in focus, making the dropdown menu visible.

/* CSS for the dropdown menu */
.split-button:focus + .dropdown-menu {
  display: block;

/* Hide the dropdown menu by default */
.dropdown-menu {
  display: none;

6. Customizing the Dropdown

To make the dropdown menu visually appealing, we can apply additional CSS styles. For instance, we can use background-color, border, and padding properties to customize the appearance of each dropdown option.

/* CSS for dropdown options */
.dropdown-menu li {
  background-color: #f1f1f1;
  padding: 10px;
  border-bottom: 1px solid #ddd;

/* Style the last option to remove the border */
.dropdown-menu li:last-child {
  border-bottom: none;

7. Ensuring Cross-Browser Compatibility

It’s essential to ensure that our split button dropdown works correctly across different web browsers. While modern browsers support the :focus pseudo-class, older versions may require additional JavaScript fallbacks.

8. Conclusion

Congratulations! You’ve successfully learned how to create a split button dropdown using CSS. This interactive element can significantly enhance user experience and add a professional touch to your website. Experiment with different styles and colors to match your site’s design and make it stand out.


Can I use split button dropdowns in my web projects?

Absolutely! Split button dropdowns are widely supported by modern browsers and can be easily implemented using CSS.

Do I need any JavaScript to create a split button dropdown?

No, you can create a split button dropdown using only CSS. However, for cross-browser compatibility, you may need to use JavaScript as a fallback.

Can I customize the appearance of the dropdown options further?

Yes, you can apply various CSS styles to the dropdown options to match your website’s design and improve visual appeal.

Are split button dropdowns mobile-friendly?

Yes, with responsive CSS design, split button dropdowns can work well on mobile devices.

Is it possible to have more than two options in the dropdown menu?

Yes, you can add as many options as you like within the dropdown menu’s HTML structure.

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