The HTMLCanvasElement.getContext() method returns a drawing context on the canvas, or null if the context identifier is not supported.

Syntax

var ctx = canvas.getContext(contextType);
var ctx = canvas.getContext(contextType, contextAttributes);

Parameters

contextType
Is a DOMString containing the context identifier defining the drawing context associated to the canvas. Possible values are:
  • "2d", leading to the creation of a CanvasRenderingContext2D object representing a two-dimensional rendering context.
  • "webgl" (or "experimental-webgl") which will create a WebGLRenderingContext object representing a three-dimensional rendering context. This context is only available on browsers that implement WebGL version 1 (OpenGL ES 2.0).
  • "webgl2" which will create a WebGL2RenderingContext object representing a three-dimensional rendering context. This context is only available on browsers that implement WebGL version 2 (OpenGL ES 3.0).
  • "bitmaprenderer" which will create an ImageBitmapRenderingContext which only provides functionality to replace the content of the canvas with a given ImageBitmap.

Note: The identifier "experimental-webgl" is used in new implementations of WebGL. These implementations have either not reached test suite conformance, or the graphic drivers on the platform are not yet stable. The Khronos Group certifies WebGL implementations under certain conformance rules.

contextAttributes

You can use several context attributes when creating your rendering context, for example:

const gl = canvas.getContext('webgl', {
  antialias: false,
  depth: false
});
2d context attributes:
  • alpha: Boolean that indicates if the canvas contains an alpha channel. If set to false, the browser now knows that the backdrop is always opaque, which can speed up drawing of transparent content and images.
  • (Gecko only) willReadFrequently: Boolean that indicates whether or not a lot of read-back operations are planned. This will force the use of a software (instead of hardware accelerated) 2D canvas and can save memory when calling getImageData() frequently. This option is only available, if the flag gfx.canvas.willReadFrequently.enable is set to true (which, by default, is only the case for B2G/Firefox OS).
  • (Blink only) storage: String that indicates which storage is used ("persistent" by default).
WebGL context attributes:
  • alpha: Boolean that indicates if the canvas contains an alpha buffer.
  • depth: Boolean that indicates that the drawing buffer has a depth buffer of at least 16 bits.
  • stencil: Boolean that indicates that the drawing buffer has a stencil buffer of at least 8 bits.
  • antialias: Boolean that indicates whether or not to perform anti-aliasing.
  • premultipliedAlpha: Boolean that indicates that the page compositor will assume the drawing buffer contains colors with pre-multiplied alpha.
  • preserveDrawingBuffer: If the value is true the buffers will not be cleared and will preserve their values until cleared or overwritten by the author.
  • failIfMajorPerformanceCaveat: Boolean that indicates if a context will be created if the system performance is low.

Return value

A RenderingContext which is either a

If the contextType doesn't match a possible drawing context, null is returned.

Examples

Given this <canvas> element:

<canvas id="canvas" width="300" height="300"></canvas>

You can get a 2d context of the canvas with the following code:

var canvas = document.getElementById('canvas');
var ctx = canvas.getContext('2d');
console.log(ctx); // CanvasRenderingContext2D { ... }

Now you have the 2D rendering context for a canvas and you can draw within it.

Specifications

Specification Status Comment
HTML Living Standard
The definition of 'HTMLCanvasElement.getContext' in that specification.
Living Standard No change since the latest snapshot, HTML5
HTML 5.1
The definition of 'HTMLCanvasElement.getContext' in that specification.
Recommendation  
HTML5
The definition of 'HTMLCanvasElement.getContext' in that specification.
Recommendation Snapshot of the HTML Living Standard containing the initial definition.

Browser compatibility

FeatureChromeEdgeFirefoxInternet ExplorerOperaSafari
Basic support Yes123.6993.1
webgl context

33

91

Yes1

241

3.6

111

15

91

5.11
webgl2 context56 No2

51

251

No No No
2d alpha context attribute32 ?30 No Yes No
failIfMajorPerformanceCaveat attribute Yes ?41 Yes Yes ?
bitmaprenderer context56 ?46 No43 No
FeatureAndroid webviewChrome for AndroidEdge mobileFirefox for AndroidOpera AndroidiOS SafariSamsung Internet
Basic support Yes Yes ?4 Yes Yes Yes
webgl context ? ? Yes Yes1 ? ? ?
webgl2 context ? No ? No No No No
2d alpha context attribute No No ?30 No No No
failIfMajorPerformanceCaveat attribute No No ?41 ? ? No
bitmaprenderer context No56 ?4643 No6.0

1. Supported as experimental-webgl.

2. WebGL 2 is under consideration in Edge, with a roadmap priority of medium. See the Edge Platform status for latest information.

See also

Document Tags and Contributors

 Last updated by: K3N,