Autocomplete Message

This page describes where to use and find an autocomplete message type

What is an autocomplete message?

Autocomplete messages allow us to capture accurate and form valid data from users efficiently. These messages can perform automatic look-ups based on partial user inputs.

When to use an autocomplete message?

Autocomplete messages come in handy when we need to collect accurate information from users by reducing the chance of human error while improving user experience.

For example with an address look-up message users can input partial information such as their postcode and select their address from a list of suggested matches.

How to create an autocomplete message

Via the custom message in Message Editor

Navigate to the Message Editor and create a Custom Message. Select autocomplete-message from the message type drop down menu and the XML Snippet field will automatically be populated with a code template.

Fill in the template with the properties of your particular message and when you are happy with it make sure to save your message and test it in the Test Preview chat window.

  • Open your OpenDialog application

  • Select the Scenario that you wish to edit

  • Select Design from the left hand panel and select Messages

  • Go into the message that you want to add a message block to

  • Add a 'Custom Message' block

  • Select 'auto complete' from the drop down

  • Add in your own text to the fields you want to customise

  • To preview your message, go to the Preview section

XML Snippet

The autocomplete message is used to create an input that will offer suggestions to a user as they start typing. This message is supported by an API that should accept a query string and respond with an array of items to show in the JSON format below:

    "name": "item1"
    "name": "item2"

The message XML accepts a number of options that help the webchat component know how to construct the query to send to the API:

  • options-endpoint.url - The URL of the API to hit. This can be relative or absolute. It is often a good idea to create a local API proxy route in your OD application to be able to format responses from external sources.

  • options-endpoint.params - Each param in here will be added to the API url as query parameters in the format ?{name}={value}.

  • options-endpoint.query-param-name - This field specifies the name to be used for the query query param. The value of the query param will be all characters that the user has started typing in the auto-complete box.

So in the example below, each time the user entered a character into the input field, the following GET request would is made to fetch the next set of suggestions


There are 2 text type fields text which will appear when the message starts showing and placeholder which shows in the message input box before a user starts typing


      <param name="name" value="value" />


<title> is the title that appears at the top of the text input box. <callback> defines the user intent that is triggered when the user clicks the submit button. <submit_text> defines the text that appears on the button that advances the conversation. <options-endpoint> <params> <attribute_name> defines the attribute in which the user's input is stored.

Interaction with other message types

Autocomplete messages should come last in in your authored messages as the <submit_text> button advances the conversation. They can be combined with text, image and audio messages.

If you change your mind and select a different message type after generating the XML code, the new message code will be appended in the same window so make sure to delete the old message code.

How to use an autocomplete message

Saving a message: Always remember to hit 'Save Message' before closing or navigating away from the edit screen.

How to construct an autocomplete message

When structuring a message, you are able to use multiple different message blocks together to create the message that you are looking for. However, when it comes to ordering and structing these, there are some rules that need to be followed. To learn more about this, please head to the Constructing Messages page for more information.

For all message types, a key element to take into consideration is Accessibility, especially for messages that include customisation with multimedia types such as buttons, images and links. For all information on accessibility within OpenDialog, please click here.

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