DocumentOrShadowRoot.getSelection()

This is an experimental technology
Check the Browser compatibility table carefully before using this in production.

The getSelection() property of the DocumentOrShadowRoot interface returns a Selection object representing the range of text selected by the user, or the current position of the caret.

Syntax

var selection = documentOrShadowRootInstance.getSelection()

Parameters

None.

Returns

Selection object.

Example

function foo() {
    var selObj = document.getSelection(); 
    alert(selObj);
    var selRange = selObj.getRangeAt(0);
    // do stuff with the range
}

Notes

String representation of the Selection object

In JavaScript, when an object is passed to a function expecting a string (like Window.alert()), the object's toString() method is called and the returned value is passed to the function. This can make the object appear to be a string when used with other functions when it is really an object with properties and methods.

In the above example, selObj.toString() is automatically called when it is passed to Window.alert(). However, attempting to use a JavaScript String property or method such as length or substr directly on a Selection object results in an error if it does not have that property or method and may return unexpected results if it does. To use a Selection object as a string, call its toString() method directly:

var selectedText = selObj.toString();
  • selObj is a Selection object.
  • selectedText is a string (Selected text).

HTML inputs provide simpler helper APIs for working with selection (see HTMLInputElement.setSelectionRange()).

Notice the difference between selection and focus. Document.activeElement returns the focused element.

Specifications

Specification Status Comment
Shadow DOM
The definition of 'DocumentOrShadowRoot' in that specification.
Obsolete Initial definition.

Browser Compatibility

Update compatibility data on GitHub
DesktopMobile
ChromeEdgeFirefoxInternet ExplorerOperaSafariAndroid webviewChrome for AndroidEdge MobileFirefox for AndroidOpera for AndroidSafari on iOSSamsung Internet
Basic support
Experimental
Chrome Full support 53Edge Full support YesFirefox Full support YesIE Full support YesOpera Full support 40Safari Full support YesWebView Android Full support 53Chrome Android Full support 53Edge Mobile Full support YesFirefox Android Full support YesOpera Android Full support 40Safari iOS Full support YesSamsung Internet Android Full support 6.0

Legend

Full support  
Full support
Experimental. Expect behavior to change in the future.
Experimental. Expect behavior to change in the future.

Document Tags and Contributors

Contributors to this page: ExE-Boss, nmaxcom, jpmedley, fscholz, chrisdavidmills, bede, david_ross
Last updated by: ExE-Boss,