Create a Back button with React Router

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Borislav Hadzhiev

Last updated: Apr 30, 2022

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Create a Back button with React Router #

To create a back button with React Router:

  1. Set the onClick prop on a button to a function.
  2. Use the useNavigate() hook, e.g. const navigate = useNavigate();.
  3. Call the navigate() function passing it -1 - navigate(-1).
App.js
import {Link, Routes, Route, useNavigate} from 'react-router-dom'; export default function App() { const navigate = useNavigate(); return ( <div> <button onClick={() => navigate(-1)}>Go back 1 Page</button> <button onClick={() => navigate(1)}>Go forward 1 Page</button> <div> <nav> <ul> <li> <Link to="/">Home</Link> </li> <li> <Link to="/contacts">Contacts</Link> </li> </ul> </nav> {/* 👇️ Wrap your Route components in a Routes component */} <Routes> <Route path="/contacts" element={<Contacts />} /> <Route path="/" element={<Home />} /> </Routes> </div> </div> ); } function Home() { return <h2>Home</h2>; } function Contacts() { return <h2>Contacts</h2>; }

create back button react router

The useNavigate hook returns a function that lets us navigate programmatically, e.g. after a form is submitted or a button is clicked.

To go back to the previous page, pass -1 as a parameter to the navigate() function, e.g. navigate(-1).

Calling navigate with -1 is the same as hitting the back button in the browser.

Similarly, you can call the navigate function with -2 to go 2 pages back.

You can also use the navigate function to programmatically navigate to a different route, e.g. navigate(/contacts).

App.js
import {useNavigate} from 'react-router-dom'; export default function App() { const navigate = useNavigate(); const handleClick = () => { // 👇️ replace set to true navigate('/contacts', {replace: true}); }; return ( <div> <button onClick={handleClick}>Navigate to /contacts</button> </div> ); }

When the replace property is set to true on the options object, the current entry in the history stack gets replaced with the new one.

In other words, navigating to the new route won't push a new entry into the history stack, so if the user clicks the back button, they won't be able to navigate to the previous page.

This is useful, for example, when a user logs in - you don't want them to be able to click the back button and get back to the login page.

Or if you have a route that redirects uses to a different page - you don't want users to click the back button and get redirected again.

If you need to navigate one page forward, call navigate with 1 - navigate(1).

To use the useNavigate hook in your application, make sure the App component in your index.js file is wrapped in a Router.

index.js
import {createRoot} from 'react-dom/client'; import App from './App'; import {BrowserRouter as Router} from 'react-router-dom'; const rootElement = document.getElementById('root'); const root = createRoot(rootElement); // 👇️ wrap App in Router root.render( <Router> <App /> </Router> );
The best place to wrap your React app with a Router component is in your index.js file because that's the entry point of your React application.

Once your entire app is wrapped with a Router component, you can use any of the hooks from the react router package anywhere in your components.

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