console

The console object provides access to the debugging console (e.g., the Web console in Firefox). The specifics of how it works vary from browser to browser or server runtimes (Node.js, for example), but there is a de facto set of features that are typically provided.

The console object can be accessed from any global object. Window on browsing scopes and WorkerGlobalScope as specific variants in workers via the property console. It's exposed as Window.console, and can be referenced as console. For example:

js
console.log("Failed to open the specified link");

This page documents the Methods available on the console object and gives a few Usage examples.

Note: This feature is available in Web Workers

Note: Certain online IDEs and editors may implement the console API differently than the browsers. As a result, certain functionality of the console API, such as the timer methods, may not be outputted in the console of online IDEs or editors. Always open your browser's DevTools console to see the logs as shown in this documentation.

Instance methods

console.assert()

Log a message and stack trace to console if the first argument is false.

console.clear()

Clear the console.

console.count()

Log the number of times this line has been called with the given label.

console.countReset()

Resets the value of the counter with the given label.

console.debug()

Outputs a message to the console with the log level debug.

console.dir()

Displays an interactive listing of the properties of a specified JavaScript object. This listing lets you use disclosure triangles to examine the contents of child objects.

console.dirxml()

Displays an XML/HTML Element representation of the specified object if possible or the JavaScript Object view if it is not possible.

console.error()

Outputs an error message. You may use string substitution and additional arguments with this method.

console.exception() Non-standard Deprecated

An alias for console.error().

console.group()

Creates a new inline group, indenting all following output by another level. To move back out a level, call console.groupEnd().

console.groupCollapsed()

Creates a new inline group, indenting all following output by another level. However, unlike console.group() this starts with the inline group collapsed requiring the use of a disclosure button to expand it. To move back out a level, call console.groupEnd().

console.groupEnd()

Exits the current inline group.

console.info()

Informative logging of information. You may use string substitution and additional arguments with this method.

console.log()

For general output of logging information. You may use string substitution and additional arguments with this method.

console.profile() Non-standard

Starts the browser's built-in profiler (for example, the Firefox performance tool). You can specify an optional name for the profile.

console.profileEnd() Non-standard

Stops the profiler. You can see the resulting profile in the browser's performance tool (for example, the Firefox performance tool).

console.table()

Displays tabular data as a table.

console.time()

Starts a timer with a name specified as an input parameter. Up to 10,000 simultaneous timers can run on a given page.

console.timeEnd()

Stops the specified timer and logs the elapsed time in milliseconds since it started.

console.timeLog()

Logs the value of the specified timer to the console.

console.timeStamp() Non-standard

Adds a marker to the browser performance tool's timeline (Chrome or Firefox).

console.trace()

Outputs a stack trace.

console.warn()

Outputs a warning message. You may use string substitution and additional arguments with this method.

Examples

Outputting text to the console

The console's most frequently used feature is logging text and other data. There are several categories of output you can generate using the console.log(), console.info(), console.warn(), console.error(), or console.debug() methods. Each of these results in output styled differently in the log, and you can use the filtering controls provided by your browser to view only the kinds of output that interest you.

There are two ways to use each of the output methods:

  • Pass in a variable number of arguments whose string representations get concatenated into one string, then output to the console.
  • Pass in a string containing zero or more substitution strings followed by a variable number of arguments to replace them.

Outputting a single object

The simplest way to use the logging methods is to output a single object:

js
const someObject = { str: "Some text", id: 5 };
console.log(someObject);

The output looks something like this:

{str:"Some text", id:5}

Outputting multiple objects

You can also output multiple objects by listing them when calling the logging method, like this:

js
const car = "Dodge Charger";
const someObject = { str: "Some text", id: 5 };
console.info("My first car was a", car, ". The object is:", someObject);

The output will look like this:

My first car was a Dodge Charger. The object is: {str:"Some text", id:5}

Using string substitutions

When passing a string to one of the console object's methods that accepts a string (such as console.log()), you may use these substitution strings:

%o or %O

Outputs a JavaScript object. Clicking the object name opens more information about it in the inspector.

%d or %i

Outputs an integer. Number formatting is supported, for example console.log("Foo %.2d", 1.1) will output the number as two significant figures with a leading 0: Foo 01.

%s

Outputs a string.

%f

Outputs a floating-point value. Formatting is supported, for example console.log("Foo %.2f", 1.1) will output the number to 2 decimal places: Foo 1.10.

Note: Precision formatting doesn't work in Chrome.

Each of these pulls the next argument after the format string off the parameter list. For example:

js
for (let i = 0; i < 5; i++) {
  console.log("Hello, %s. You've called me %d times.", "Bob", i + 1);
}

The output looks like this:

Hello, Bob. You've called me 1 times.
Hello, Bob. You've called me 2 times.
Hello, Bob. You've called me 3 times.
Hello, Bob. You've called me 4 times.
Hello, Bob. You've called me 5 times.

Styling console output

You can use the %c directive to apply a CSS style to console output:

js
console.log(
  "This is %cMy stylish message",
  "color: yellow; font-style: italic; background-color: blue;padding: 2px",
);

The text before the directive will not be affected, but the text after the directive will be styled using the CSS declarations in the parameter.

Styled Text in Firefox console

You may use %c multiple times:

js
console.log(
  "Multiple styles: %cred %corange",
  "color: red",
  "color: orange",
  "Additional unformatted message",
);

The properties usable along with the %c syntax are as follows (at least, in Firefox — they may differ in other browsers):

Note: The console message behaves like an inline element by default. To see the effects of padding, margin, etc. you should set it to for example display: inline-block.

Using groups in the console

You can use nested groups to help organize your output by visually combining related material. To create a new nested block, call console.group(). The console.groupCollapsed() method is similar but creates the new block collapsed, requiring the use of a disclosure button to open it for reading.

To exit the current group, call console.groupEnd(). For example, given this code:

js
console.log("This is the outer level");
console.group("First group");
console.log("In the first group");
console.group("Second group");
console.log("In the second group");
console.warn("Still in the second group");
console.groupEnd();
console.log("Back to the first group");
console.groupEnd();
console.debug("Back to the outer level");

The output looks like this:

Demo of nested groups in Firefox console

Timers

You can start a timer to calculate the duration of a specific operation. To start one, call the console.time() method, giving it a name as the only parameter. To stop the timer, and to get the elapsed time in milliseconds, just call the console.timeEnd() method, again passing the timer's name as the parameter. Up to 10,000 timers can run simultaneously on a given page.

For example, given this code:

js
console.time("answer time");
alert("Click to continue");
console.timeLog("answer time");
alert("Do a bunch of other stuff…");
console.timeEnd("answer time");

Will log the time needed by the user to dismiss the alert box, log the time to the console, wait for the user to dismiss the second alert, and then log the ending time to the console:

Time log in Firefox console

Notice that the timer's name is displayed both when the timer is started and when it's stopped.

Stack traces

The console object also supports outputting a stack trace; this will show you the call path taken to reach the point at which you call console.trace(). Given code like this:

js
function foo() {
  function bar() {
    console.trace();
  }
  bar();
}

foo();

The output in the console looks something like this:

Stack trace in Firefox console

Specifications

Specification
Console Standard
# console-namespace

Browser compatibility

BCD tables only load in the browser

Notes

  • At least in Firefox, if a page defines a console object, that object overrides the one built into Firefox.

See also

Other implementations