Pointer capture allows events for a particular pointer event (PointerEvent) to be re-targeted to a particular element instead of the normal target (or hit test) at a pointer's location. This can be used to ensure that an element continues to receive pointer events even if the pointer device's contact moves off the element (for example by scrolling).

setPointerCapture() is the method of the Element interface used to designate a specific element as the capture target of future pointer events. Subsequent events for the pointer will be targeted at capture element until capture is released (via Element.releasePointerCapture).

When pointer capture is set, pointerover, pointerout pointerenter and pointerleave events are only generated when crossing the boundary of the element that has capture set since other elements can no longer be targeted by the pointer. This has the effect of suppressing these events on all other elements.




The identifier for a pointer event.

Return value

This method returns void and throws a DOMException with the name InvalidPointerId if pointerId does not match any of the active pointers.


function downHandler(ev) {
 var el=document.getElementById("target");
 //Element 'target' will receive/capture further events
function init() {
 var el=document.getElementById("target");
 el.onpointerdown = downHandler;
<body onload="init();">
<div id="target"> Touch me ... </div>


Specification Status Comment
Pointer Events – Level 2
The definition of 'setPointerCapture' in that specification.
Working Draft Non-stable version.
Pointer Events
The definition of 'setPointerCapture' in that specification.
Recommendation Initial definition.

Browser compatibility

We're converting our compatibility data into a machine-readable JSON format. This compatibility table still uses the old format, because we haven't yet converted the data it contains. Find out how you can help!

Feature Chrome Firefox (Gecko) Internet Explorer Opera Safari
Basic support 35[1] 59 (59) 10 -ms
? No support
Feature Android Chrome for Android Firefox Mobile (Gecko) IE Mobile Opera Mobile Safari Mobile
Basic support ? 35[1] 29.0 (29)[2] 10 -ms
? No support

[1] This was implemented in bug 248918.

[2] Supported behind the preference dom.w3c_pointer_events.enabled, defaulting to false.


See also

Document Tags and Contributors

Contributors to this page: chrisdavidmills, erikadoyle, rolfedh, AFBarstow
Last updated by: chrisdavidmills,