The substring() method returns the part of the string between the start and end indexes, or to the end of the string.

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substring(indexStart, indexEnd)



The index of the first character to include in the returned substring.

indexEnd Optional

The index of the first character to exclude from the returned substring.

Return value

A new string containing the specified part of the given string.


substring() extracts characters from indexStart up to but not including indexEnd. In particular:

  • If indexEnd is omitted, substring() extracts characters to the end of the string.
  • If indexStart is equal to indexEnd, substring() returns an empty string.
  • If indexStart is greater than indexEnd, then the effect of substring() is as if the two arguments were swapped; See example below.

Any argument value that is less than 0 or greater than stringName.length is treated as if it were 0 and stringName.length, respectively.

Any argument value that is NaN is treated as if it were 0.


Using substring()

The following example uses substring() to display characters from the string 'Mozilla':

let anyString = 'Mozilla'

// Displays 'M'
console.log(anyString.substring(0, 1))
console.log(anyString.substring(1, 0))

// Displays 'Mozill'
console.log(anyString.substring(0, 6))

// Displays 'lla'
console.log(anyString.substring(4, 7))
console.log(anyString.substring(7, 4))

// Displays 'Mozilla'
console.log(anyString.substring(0, 7))
console.log(anyString.substring(0, 10))

Using substring() with length property

The following example uses the substring() method and length property to extract the last characters of a particular string. This method may be easier to remember, given that you don't need to know the starting and ending indices as you would in the above examples.

// Displays 'illa' the last 4 characters
let anyString = 'Mozilla'
let anyString4 = anyString.substring(anyString.length - 4)

// Displays 'zilla' the last 5 characters
let anyString = 'Mozilla'
let anyString5 = anyString.substring(anyString.length - 5)

The difference between substring() and substr()

There's a subtle difference between the substring() and substr() methods, so you should be careful not to get them confused.

The arguments of substring() represent the starting and ending indexes, while the arguments of substr() represent the starting index and the number of characters to include in the returned string.

Furthermore, substr() is considered a legacy feature in ECMAScript and could be removed from future versions, so it is best to avoid using it if possible.

let text = 'Mozilla'
console.log(text.substring(2,5))  // => "zil"
console.log(text.substr(2,3))     // => "zil"

Differences between substring() and slice()

The substring() and slice() methods are almost identical, but there are a couple of subtle differences between the two, especially in the way negative arguments are dealt with.

The substring() method swaps its two arguments if indexStart is greater than indexEnd, meaning that a string is still returned. The slice() method returns an empty string if this is the case.

let text = 'Mozilla'
console.log(text.substring(5, 2))  // => "zil"
console.log(text.slice(5, 2))      // => ""

If either or both of the arguments are negative or NaN, the substring() method treats them as if they were 0.

console.log(text.substring(-5, 2))  // => "Mo"
console.log(text.substring(-5, -2)) // => ""

slice() also treats NaN arguments as 0, but when it is given negative values it counts backwards from the end of the string to find the indexes.

console.log(text.slice(-5, 2))   // => ""
console.log(text.slice(-5, -2))  // => "zil"

See the slice() page for more examples with negative numbers.

Replacing a substring within a string

The following example replaces a substring within a string. It will replace both individual characters and substrings. The function call at the end of the example changes the string Brave New World to Brave New Web.

// Replaces oldS with newS in the string fullS
function replaceString(oldS, newS, fullS) {
  for (let i = 0; i < fullS.length; ++i) {
    if (fullS.substring(i, i + oldS.length) == oldS) {
      fullS = fullS.substring(0, i) + newS + fullS.substring(i + oldS.length, fullS.length)
  return fullS

replaceString('World', 'Web', 'Brave New World')

Note that this can result in an infinite loop if oldS is itself a substring of newS — for example, if you attempted to replace 'World' with 'OtherWorld' here.

A better method for replacing strings is as follows:

function replaceString(oldS, newS, fullS) {
  return fullS.split(oldS).join(newS)

The code above serves as an example for substring operations. If you need to replace substrings, most of the time you will want to use String.prototype.replace().


ECMAScript Language Specification
# sec-string.prototype.substring

Browser compatibility

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See also