The charCodeAt() method returns an integer between 0 and 65535 representing the UTF-16 code unit at the given index (the UTF-16 code unit matches the Unicode code point for code points representable in a single UTF-16 code unit, but might also be the first code unit of a surrogate pair for code points not representable in a single UTF-16 code unit, e.g. Unicode code points > 0x10000). If you want the entire code point value, use codePointAt().

Syntax

str.charCodeAt(index)

Parameters

index
An integer greater than or equal to 0 and less than the length of the string; if it is not a number, it defaults to 0.

Return value

A number representing the UTF-16 code unit value of the character at the given index; NaN if index is out of range.

Description

Unicode code points range from 0 to 1114111 (0x10FFFF). The first 128 Unicode code points are a direct match of the ASCII character encoding. For information on Unicode, see the JavaScript Guide.

Note that charCodeAt() will always return a value that is less than 65536. This is because the higher code points are represented by a pair of (lower valued) "surrogate" pseudo-characters which are used to comprise the real character. Because of this, in order to examine or reproduce the full character for individual characters of value 65536 and above, for such characters, it is necessary to retrieve not only charCodeAt(i), but also charCodeAt(i+1) (as if examining/reproducing a string with two letters), or to use codePointAt(i) instead. See example 2 and 3 below.

charCodeAt() returns NaN if the given index is less than 0 or is equal to or greater than the length of the string.

Backward compatibilty: In historic versions (like JavaScript 1.2) the charCodeAt() method returns a number indicating the ISO-Latin-1 codeset value of the character at the given index. The ISO-Latin-1 codeset ranges from 0 to 255. The first 0 to 127 are a direct match of the ASCII character set.

Examples

Using charCodeAt()

The following example returns 65, the Unicode value for A.

'ABC'.charCodeAt(0); // returns 65

Fixing charCodeAt() to handle non-Basic-Multilingual-Plane characters if their presence earlier in the string is unknown

This version might be used in for loops and the like when it is unknown whether non-BMP characters exist before the specified index position.

function fixedCharCodeAt(str, idx) {
  // ex. fixedCharCodeAt('\uD800\uDC00', 0); // 65536
  // ex. fixedCharCodeAt('\uD800\uDC00', 1); // false
  idx = idx || 0;
  var code = str.charCodeAt(idx);
  var hi, low;
  
  // High surrogate (could change last hex to 0xDB7F to treat high
  // private surrogates as single characters)
  if (0xD800 <= code && code <= 0xDBFF) {
    hi = code;
    low = str.charCodeAt(idx + 1);
    if (isNaN(low)) {
      throw 'High surrogate not followed by low surrogate in fixedCharCodeAt()';
    }
    return ((hi - 0xD800) * 0x400) + (low - 0xDC00) + 0x10000;
  }
  if (0xDC00 <= code && code <= 0xDFFF) { // Low surrogate
    // We return false to allow loops to skip this iteration since should have
    // already handled high surrogate above in the previous iteration
    return false;
    /*hi = str.charCodeAt(idx - 1);
    low = code;
    return ((hi - 0xD800) * 0x400) + (low - 0xDC00) + 0x10000;*/
  }
  return code;
}

Fixing charCodeAt() to handle non-Basic-Multilingual-Plane characters if their presence earlier in the string is known

function knownCharCodeAt(str, idx) {
  str += '';
  var code,
      end = str.length;

  var surrogatePairs = /[\uD800-\uDBFF][\uDC00-\uDFFF]/g;
  while ((surrogatePairs.exec(str)) != null) {
    var li = surrogatePairs.lastIndex;
    if (li - 2 < idx) {
      idx++;
    }
    else {
      break;
    }
  }

  if (idx >= end || idx < 0) {
    return NaN;
  }

  code = str.charCodeAt(idx);

  var hi, low;
  if (0xD800 <= code && code <= 0xDBFF) {
    hi = code;
    low = str.charCodeAt(idx + 1);
    // Go one further, since one of the "characters" is part of a surrogate pair
    return ((hi - 0xD800) * 0x400) + (low - 0xDC00) + 0x10000;
  }
  return code;
}

Specifications

Specification Status Comment
ECMAScript 1st Edition (ECMA-262) Standard Initial definition. Implemented in JavaScript 1.2.
ECMAScript 5.1 (ECMA-262)
The definition of 'String.prototype.charCodeAt' in that specification.
Standard  
ECMAScript 2015 (6th Edition, ECMA-262)
The definition of 'String.prototype.charCodeAt' in that specification.
Standard  
ECMAScript 2017 Draft (ECMA-262)
The definition of 'String.prototype.charCodeAt' in that specification.
Draft  

Browser compatibility

Feature Chrome Firefox (Gecko) Internet Explorer Opera Safari
Basic support (Yes) (Yes) (Yes) (Yes) (Yes)
Feature Android Chrome for Android Firefox Mobile (Gecko) IE Mobile Opera Mobile Safari Mobile
Basic support (Yes) (Yes) (Yes) (Yes) (Yes) (Yes)

See also

Document Tags and Contributors

 Last updated by: eduardoboucas,