Range.commonAncestorContainer

The Range.commonAncestorContainer read-only property returns the deepest — or furthest down the document tree — Node that contains both boundary points of the Range. This means that if Range.startContainer and Range.endContainer both refer to the same node, this node is the common ancestor container.

Since a Range need not be continuous, and may also partially select nodes, this is a convenient way to find a Node which encloses a Range.

This property is read-only. To change the ancestor container of a Node, consider using the various methods available to set the start and end positions of the Range, such as Range.setStart() and Range.setEnd().

Syntax

rangeAncestor = range.commonAncestorContainer;

Example

In this example, we create an event listener to handle pointerup events on a list. The listener gets the common ancestors of each piece of selected text, and triggers an animation to highlight them.

HTML

<ul>
  <li>Strings
    <ul>
      <li>Cello</li>
      <li>Violin
        <ul>
          <li>First Chair</li>
          <li>Second Chair</li>
        </ul>
      </li>
    </ul>
  </li>
  <li>Woodwinds
    <ul>
      <li>Clarinet</li>
      <li>Oboe</li>
    </ul>
  </li>
</ul>

CSS

The .highlight class created below uses a set of CSS @keyframes to animate a fading outline.

.highlight {
  animation: highlight linear 1s;
}

@keyframes highlight {
  from { outline: 1px solid #f00f; }
  to   { outline: 1px solid #f000; }
}

JavaScript

document.addEventListener('pointerup', e => {
  const selection = window.getSelection();

  if (selection.type === 'Range') {
    for (let i = 0; i < selection.rangeCount; i++) {
      const range = selection.getRangeAt(i);
      playAnimation(range.commonAncestorContainer);
    }
  }
});

function playAnimation(el) {
  if (el.nodeType === Node.TEXT_NODE) {
    el = el.parentNode;
  }

  el.classList.remove('highlight');
  setTimeout(() => {
    el.classList.add('highlight');
  }, 0);
}

Result

Specifications

Specification
DOM Standard (DOM)
# ref-for-dom-range-commonancestorcontainer②

Browser compatibility

BCD tables only load in the browser

See also