Get the value of an Input field using a Ref in React

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Borislav Hadzhiev

Last updated: Apr 23, 2022

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Get the value of an Input field using a Ref in React #

To get the value of an input field using a ref in React:

  1. Set the ref prop on the input element.
  2. Access the value of the input field on the ref object, e.g. ref.current.value.
App.js
import {useRef} from 'react'; const App = () => { const inputRef = useRef(null); function handleClick() { console.log('value 👉️', inputRef.current.value); } return ( <div> <input ref={inputRef} type="text" id="message" name="message" /> <button onClick={handleClick}>Log message</button> </div> ); }; export default App;

get value of input using ref

The example shows how to get the value of an uncontrolled input field.

Notice that the input doesn't have an onChange prop or a value set.

You can pass an initial value to an uncontrolled input with the defaultValue prop. However, this is not necessary and you can omit the prop if you don't want to set an initial value.

When using uncontrolled input fields, we access the input using a ref.

The useRef() hook can be passed an initial value as an argument. The hook returns a mutable ref object whose .current property is initialized to the passed argument.

Notice that we have to access the current property on the ref object to get access to the input element on which we set the ref prop.

When we pass a ref prop to an element, e.g. <input ref={myRef} />, React sets the .current property of the ref object to the corresponding DOM node.

The useRef hook creates a plain JavaScript object, but gives you the same ref object on every render. In other words, it's pretty much a memoized object value with a .current property.

It should be noted that when you change the value of the current property of the ref, no re-renders are caused.

Every time the user clicks on the button in the example, the value of the uncontrolled input gets logged.

You shouldn't set the value prop on an uncontrolled input (an input field that doesn't have an onChange handler) because that would make the input field immutable and you wouldn't be able to type in it.

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