Change the Text of an Element using JavaScript

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Borislav Hadzhiev

Tue Jan 04 20222 min read

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Photo by Brooke Cagle

Change the Text of an Element using JavaScript #

Use the textContent property to change the text of an element, e.g. element.textContent = 'New text'. The textContent property will set the text of the element to the provided string, replacing any of the existing content.

Here is the HTML for the examples in this article.

index.html
<!DOCTYPE html> <html lang="en"> <head> <meta charset="UTF-8" /> </head> <body> <div id="box">Hello world</div> <script src="index.js"></script> </body> </html>

And here is the related JavaScript code.

index.js
const box = document.getElementById('box'); // โœ… Change (replace) the text of the element box.textContent = 'New text'; // โœ… Change (replace) the text with HTML // box.innerHTML = `<span style="background-color: lime">Some more text</span>`; // โœ… Append / Prepend text to the element box.insertAdjacentText('beforeend', ' appended text'); // โœ… Append / Prepend HTML to the element box.insertAdjacentHTML( 'beforeend', `<span style="background-color: cyan"> My html here</span>`, );

We used the textContent property on the element to change its text content.

The textContent property can also be used to read the text content of the element and its descendants.

Setting textContent on an element, removes all of the element's children and replaces them with a single text node with the provided string.

If you need to append / prepend text to the existing content of the element, use the insertAdjacentText method instead.

index.js
const box = document.getElementById('box'); // โœ… Append / Prepend text to the element box.insertAdjacentText('beforeend', ' appended text');

The insertAdjacentText method takes the following 2 parameters:

  1. position - the position relative to the element of where the text should be inserted. Can be one of the following 4:
  • beforebegin - before the element itself.
  • afterbegin - just inside the element, before its first child.
  • beforeend - just inside the element, after its last child.
  • afterend - after the element itself.
  1. data - the string from which to create a new text node to insert at the given position.

In the example we inserted text just inside the element, before its last child, but you can change the value of the position parameter depending on your use case.

If you need to insert HTML to the element, you can use the insertAdjacentHTML method.

index.js
const box = document.getElementById('box'); // โœ… Append / Prepend HTML to the element box.insertAdjacentHTML( 'beforeend', `<span style="background-color: cyan"> My html here</code>`, );

The first parameter the insertAdjacentHTML method takes is the same as insertAdjacentText - the position at which the HTML should be inserted.

The second parameter is an HTML string containing the content you want to insert.

Note that this method shouldn't be used with user provided input without it being escaped, as it would leave you open to cross-site scripting attacks.

If you need to completely replace the HTML content of the element, you can use the innerHTML property.

index.js
const box = document.getElementById('box'); // โœ… Change (replace) the text with HTML box.innerHTML = `<span style="background-color: lime">Some more text</span>`;

The innerHTML property gets or sets the HTML contained within the element.

By setting the property on an element, you effectively replace the HTML previously contained in the element.

You shouldn't use user generated data without escaping it when setting the HTML of an element, because it would leave your application vulnerable to XSS attacks.

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