Change the Text of a Span element using JavaScript

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Borislav Hadzhiev

Tue Jan 04 20223 min read

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Change the Text of a Span element using JavaScript #

Use the textContent property to change the text of a span element, e.g. span.textContent = 'Replacement text'. The textContent property will set the text of the span 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> <span id="span">Initial span text</span> <script src="index.js"></script> </body> </html>

And here is the related JavaScript code.

index.js
const span = document.getElementById('span'); // โœ… Change (replace) the text of the span span.textContent = 'Replacement span text'; // โœ… Change (replace) the content with HTML span.innerHTML = `<span style="background-color: coral">Replacement HTML</span>`; // โœ… Append / Prepend text to the span span.insertAdjacentText('beforeend', ' appended text'); // โœ… Append / Prepend HTML to the span span.insertAdjacentHTML( 'beforeend', `<span style="background-color: salmon"> appended HTML</code>`, );

We used the textContent property on the span 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 completely replace the HTML content of the span element, use the innerHTML property.

index.js
const span = document.getElementById('span'); // โœ… Change (replace) the content with HTML span.innerHTML = `<span style="background-color: coral">Replacement HTML</span>`;

This can be set to any HTML or text your use case requires.

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 span.

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.

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

index.js
const span = document.getElementById('span'); // โœ… Append / Prepend text to the span span.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 span 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 span element, use the insertAdjacentHTML method.

index.js
const span = document.getElementById('span'); // โœ… Append / Prepend HTML to the span span.insertAdjacentHTML( 'beforeend', `<span style="background-color: salmon"> appended HTML</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 data without it being escaped, as it would leave you open to cross-site scripting attacks.

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