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

Syntax

var text = element.textContent;
element.textContent = "this is some sample text";

Description

  • textContent returns null if the element is a document, a document type, or a notation. To grab all of the text and CDATA data for the whole document, one could use document.documentElement.textContent.
  • If the node is a CDATA section, a comment, a processing instruction, or a text node, textContent returns the text inside this node (the nodeValue).
  • For other node types, textContent returns the concatenation of the textContent attribute value of every child node, excluding comments and processing instruction nodes. This is an empty string if the node has no children.
  • Setting this property on a node removes all of its children and replaces them with a single text node with the given value.

Differences from innerText

Internet Explorer introduced element.innerText. The intention is similar but with the following differences:

  • While textContent gets the content of all elements, including <script> and <style> elements, the IE-specific property innerText does not.
  • innerText is aware of style and will not return the text of hidden elements, whereas textContent will.
  • As innerText is aware of CSS styling, it will trigger a reflow, whereas textContent will not.
  • Unlike textContent, altering innerText in Internet Explorer (up to version 11 inclusive) not just removes child nodes from the element, but also permanently destroys all descendant text nodes (so it is impossible to insert the nodes again into any other element or into the same element anymore).

Differences from innerHTML

innerHTML returns the HTML as its name indicates. Quite often, in order to retrieve or write text within an element, people use innerHTML. textContent should be used instead. Because the text is not parsed as HTML, it's likely to have better performance. Moreover, this avoids an XSS attack vector.

Example

// Given the following HTML fragment:
//   <div id="divA">This is <span>some</span> text</div>

// Get the text content:
var text = document.getElementById("divA").textContent;
// |text| is set to "This is some text".

// Set the text content:
document.getElementById("divA").textContent = "This is some text";
// The HTML for divA is now:
//   <div id="divA">This is some text</div>

Polyfill for IE8

if (Object.defineProperty 
  && Object.getOwnPropertyDescriptor 
  && Object.getOwnPropertyDescriptor(Element.prototype, "textContent") 
  && !Object.getOwnPropertyDescriptor(Element.prototype, "textContent").get) {
  (function() {
    var innerText = Object.getOwnPropertyDescriptor(Element.prototype, "innerText");
    Object.defineProperty(Element.prototype, "textContent",
     {
       get: function() {
         return innerText.get.call(this);
       },
       set: function(s) {
         return innerText.set.call(this, s);
       }
     }
   );
  })();
}

 

Browser compatibility

Feature Chrome Firefox (Gecko) Internet Explorer Opera Safari
Basic support 1+ 2 9 9.64 (possibly earlier) 3 (possibly earlier)
Feature Android Firefox Mobile (Gecko) IE Mobile Opera Mobile Safari Mobile
Basic support ? ? ? ? ?

Specifications

Specification Status Comment
DOM
The definition of 'Node.textContent' in that specification.
Living Standard No changes versus DOM4
DOM4
The definition of 'Node.textContent' in that specification.
Working Draft  
Document Object Model (DOM) Level 3 Core Specification
The definition of 'Node.textContent' in that specification.
Recommendation Introduced

See also