Node.textContent

The textContent property of the Node interface represents the text content of the node and its descendants.

Note: textContent and HTMLElement.innerText are easily confused, but the two properties are different in important ways.

Value

A string, or null. Its value depends on the situation:

  • If the node is a document or a doctype, textContent returns null.

    Note: To get all of the text and CDATA data for the whole document, use document.documentElement.textContent.

  • If the node is a CDATA section, a comment, a processing instruction, or a text node, textContent returns, or sets, the text inside the node, i.e., the Node.nodeValue.
  • For other node types, textContent returns the concatenation of the textContent of every child node, excluding comments and processing instructions. (This is an empty string if the node has no children.)

Warning: Setting textContent on a node removes all of the node's children and replaces them with a single text node with the given string value.

Differences from innerText

Don't get confused by the differences between Node.textContent and HTMLElement.innerText. Although the names seem similar, there are important differences:

  • textContent gets the content of all elements, including <script> and <style> elements. In contrast, innerText only shows "human-readable" elements.
  • textContent returns every element in the node. In contrast, innerText is aware of styling and won't return the text of "hidden" elements.
    • Moreover, since innerText takes CSS styles into account, reading the value of innerText triggers a reflow to ensure up-to-date computed styles. (Reflows can be computationally expensive, and thus should be avoided when possible.)
  • Both textContent and innerText remove child nodes when altered, but altering innerText in Internet Explorer (version 11 and below) also permanently destroys all descendant text nodes. It is impossible to insert the nodes again into any other element or into the same element after doing so.

Differences from innerHTML

Element.innerHTML returns HTML, as its name indicates. Sometimes people use innerHTML to retrieve or write text inside an element, but textContent has better performance because its value is not parsed as HTML.

Moreover, using textContent can prevent XSS attacks.

Examples

Given this HTML fragment:

<div id="divA">This is <span>some</span> text!</div>

... you can use textContent to get the element's text content:

let text = document.getElementById('divA').textContent;
// The text variable is now: 'This is some text!'

... or set the element's text content:

document.getElementById('divA').textContent = 'This text is different!';
// The HTML for divA is now:
// <div id="divA">This text is different!</div>

Specifications

Specification
DOM Standard (DOM)
# dom-node-textcontent

Browser compatibility

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See also