String.prototype.charCodeAt()

Summary

The charCodeAt() method returns the numeric Unicode value of the character at the given index (except for unicode codepoints > 0x10000).

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.

Description

Unicode code points range from 0 to 1,114,111. 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 65,536. 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 65,536 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). See example 2 and 3 below.

charCodeAt returns NaN if the given index is not greater than 0 or is 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

Example: Using charCodeAt

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

"ABC".charCodeAt(0) // returns 65

Example: 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); // 65536
    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;
} 

Example: 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. Standard Initial definition.
Implemented in JavaScript 1.2
ECMAScript Language Specification 5.1th Edition (ECMA-262) Standard  
ECMAScript Language Specification 6th Edition (ECMA-262) 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: fscholz,
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