File drag and drop

HTML Drag and Drop interfaces enable web applications to drag and drop files on a web page. This document describes how an application can accept one or more files that are dragged from the underlying platform's file manager and dropped on a web page.

The main steps to drag and drop are to define a drop zone (i.e. a target element for the file drop) and to define event handlers for the drop and dragover events. These steps are described below, including example code snippets. The full source code is available in MDN's drag-and-drop repository (pull requests and/or issues are welcome).

Note that HTML drag and drop defines two different APIs to support dragging and dropping files. One API is the DataTransfer interface and the second API is the DataTransferItem and DataTransferItemList interfaces. This example illustrates the use of both APIs (and does not use any Gecko specific interfaces).

Define the drop zone

The target element of the drop event needs an ondrop global event handler. The following code snippet shows how this is done with a <div> element:

<div id="drop_zone" ondrop="dropHandler(event);">
  <p>Drag one or more files to this Drop Zone ...</p>

Typically, an application will include a dragover event handler on the drop target element and that handler will turn off the browser's default drag behavior. To add this handler, you need to include a ondragover global event handler:

<div id="drop_zone" ondrop="dropHandler(event);" ondragover="dragOverHandler(event);">
  <p>Drag one or more files to this Drop Zone ...</p>

Lastly, an application may want to style the drop target element to visually indicate the element is a drop zone. In this example, the drop target element uses the following styling:

#drop_zone {
  border: 5px solid blue;
  width:  200px;
  height: 100px;

Note: dragstart and dragend events are not fired when dragging a file into the browser from the OS.

Process the drop

The drop event is fired when the user drops the file(s). In the following drop handler, if the browser supports DataTransferItemList interface, the getAsFile() method is used to access each file; otherwise the DataTransfer interface's files property is used to access each file.

This example shows how to write the name of each dragged file to the console. In a real application, an application may want to process a file using the File API.

Note that in this example, any drag item that is not a file is ignored.

function dropHandler(ev) {
  console.log('File(s) dropped');

  // Prevent default behavior (Prevent file from being opened)

  if (ev.dataTransfer.items) {
    // Use DataTransferItemList interface to access the file(s)
    for (let i = 0; i < ev.dataTransfer.items.length; i++) {
      // If dropped items aren't files, reject them
      if (ev.dataTransfer.items[i].kind === 'file') {
        const file = ev.dataTransfer.items[i].getAsFile();
        console.log('... file[' + i + '].name = ' +;
  } else {
    // Use DataTransfer interface to access the file(s)
    for (let i = 0; i < ev.dataTransfer.files.length; i++) {
      console.log('... file[' + i + '].name = ' + ev.dataTransfer.files[i].name);

Prevent the browser's default drag behavior

The following dragover event handler calls preventDefault() to turn off the browser's default drag and drop handler.

function dragOverHandler(ev) {
  console.log('File(s) in drop zone');

  // Prevent default behavior (Prevent file from being opened)

See also