In this article I will explain with an example, how to add default (insert) Blank (Empty) item to DataBound DropDownList populated from Database in ASP.Net Code Behind using C# and VB.Net.
Generally we want to have a default selected item such as Please Select with Blank (Empty) value. This article will explain how to add such Blank (Empty) item in Code Behind when DropDownList is populated from database.
I have made use of the following table Customers with the schema as follows.
Add default Blank (Empty) item in ASP.Net DropDownList using C# and VB.Net
I have already inserted few records in the table.
Add default Blank (Empty) item in ASP.Net DropDownList using C# and VB.Net
Note: You can download the database table SQL by clicking the download link below.
          Download SQL file
HTML Markup
The HTML Markup consists of an ASP.Net DropDownList which will be populated from database.
<asp:DropDownList ID = "ddlCustomers" runat="server">
You will need to import the following namespaces.
using System.Data;
using System.Configuration;
using System.Data.SqlClient;
Imports System.Data
Imports System.Configuration
Imports System.Data.SqlClient
Populating DropDownList control from database and adding Blank (Empty) Item
Inside the Page Load event of the page, the DropDownList is populated with the records of the Customers Table.
The CustomerId and the Name column values are fetched from the database using SqlDataReader and are assigned to the DataTextField and DataValueField properties of the DropDownList control.
DataTextField – The values of the Column set as DataTextField are visible to the user.
DataValueField – The values of the Column set as DataValueField are not visible to the user. Generally ID or Primary Key columns are set as values in order to uniquely identify a DropDownList Item.
Once the records from database are populated, a blank (empty) item is inserted at the first position.
protected void Page_Load(object sender, EventArgs e)
    if (!this.IsPostBack)
        string constr = ConfigurationManager.ConnectionStrings["constr"].ConnectionString;
        using (SqlConnection con = new SqlConnection(constr))
            using (SqlCommand cmd = new SqlCommand("SELECT CustomerId, Name FROM Customers"))
                cmd.CommandType = CommandType.Text;
                cmd.Connection = con;
                ddlCustomers.DataSource = cmd.ExecuteReader();
                ddlCustomers.DataTextField = "Name";
                ddlCustomers.DataValueField = "CustomerId";
        //Add blank item at index 0.
        ddlCustomers.Items.Insert(0, new ListItem("", ""));
Protected Sub Page_Load(sender As Object, e As EventArgs) Handles Me.Load
    If Not Me.IsPostBack Then
        Dim constr As String = ConfigurationManager.ConnectionStrings("constr").ConnectionString
        Using con As New SqlConnection(constr)
            Using cmd As New SqlCommand("SELECT CustomerId, Name FROM Customers")
                cmd.CommandType = CommandType.Text
                cmd.Connection = con
                ddlCustomers.DataSource = cmd.ExecuteReader()
                ddlCustomers.DataTextField = "Name"
                ddlCustomers.DataValueField = "CustomerId"
            End Using
        End Using
        'Add blank item at index 0.
        ddlCustomers.Items.Insert(0, New ListItem("", ""))
    End If
End Sub
Add default Blank (Empty) item in ASP.Net DropDownList using C# and VB.Net