How to set caret(cursor) position in contenteditable element (div)?

I have this simple HTML as an example:

<div id="editable" contenteditable="true">
  text text text<br>
  text text text<br>
  text text text<br>
</div>
<button id="button">focus</button>

I want simple thing - when I click the button, I want to place caret(cursor) into specific place in the editable div. From searching over the web, I have this JS attached to button click, but it doesn't work (FF, Chrome):

var range = document.createRange();
var myDiv = document.getElementById("editable");
range.setStart(myDiv, 5);
range.setEnd(myDiv, 5);

Is it possible to set manually caret position like this ?

Answers:

Answer

In most browsers, you need the Range and Selection objects. You specify each of the selection boundaries as a node and an offset within that node. For example, to set the caret to the fifth character of the second line of text, you'd do the following:

var el = document.getElementById("editable");
var range = document.createRange();
var sel = window.getSelection();
range.setStart(el.childNodes[2], 5);
range.collapse(true);
sel.removeAllRanges();
sel.addRange(range);

IE < 9 works completely differently. If you need to support these browsers, you'll need different code.

jsFiddle example: http://jsfiddle.net/timdown/vXnCM/

Answer

Most answers you find on contenteditable cursor positioning are fairly simplistic in that they only cater for inputs with plain vanilla text. Once you using html elements within the container the text entered gets split into nodes and distributed liberally across a tree structure.

To set the cursor position I have this function which loops round all the child text nodes within the supplied node and sets a range from the start of the initial node to the chars.count character:

function createRange(node, chars, range) {
    if (!range) {
        range = document.createRange()
        range.selectNode(node);
        range.setStart(node, 0);
    }

    if (chars.count === 0) {
        range.setEnd(node, chars.count);
    } else if (node && chars.count >0) {
        if (node.nodeType === Node.TEXT_NODE) {
            if (node.textContent.length < chars.count) {
                chars.count -= node.textContent.length;
            } else {
                range.setEnd(node, chars.count);
                chars.count = 0;
            }
        } else {
           for (var lp = 0; lp < node.childNodes.length; lp++) {
                range = createRange(node.childNodes[lp], chars, range);

                if (chars.count === 0) {
                    break;
                }
            }
        }
    } 

    return range;
};

I then call the routine with this function:

function setCurrentCursorPosition(chars) {
    if (chars >= 0) {
        var selection = window.getSelection();

        range = createRange(document.getElementById("test").parentNode, { count: chars });

        if (range) {
            range.collapse(false);
            selection.removeAllRanges();
            selection.addRange(range);
        }
    }
};

The range.collapse(false) sets the cursor to the end of the range. I've tested it with the latest versions of Chrome, IE, Mozilla and Opera and they all work fine.

PS. If anyone is interested I get the current cursor position using this code:

function isChildOf(node, parentId) {
    while (node !== null) {
        if (node.id === parentId) {
            return true;
        }
        node = node.parentNode;
    }

    return false;
};

function getCurrentCursorPosition(parentId) {
    var selection = window.getSelection(),
        charCount = -1,
        node;

    if (selection.focusNode) {
        if (isChildOf(selection.focusNode, parentId)) {
            node = selection.focusNode; 
            charCount = selection.focusOffset;

            while (node) {
                if (node.id === parentId) {
                    break;
                }

                if (node.previousSibling) {
                    node = node.previousSibling;
                    charCount += node.textContent.length;
                } else {
                     node = node.parentNode;
                     if (node === null) {
                         break
                     }
                }
           }
      }
   }

    return charCount;
};

The code does the opposite of the set function - it gets the current window.getSelection().focusNode and focusOffset and counts backwards all text characters encountered until it hits a parent node with id of containerId. The isChildOf function just checks before running that the suplied node is actually a child of the supplied parentId.

The code should work straight without change, but I have just taken it from a jQuery plugin I've developed so have hacked out a couple of this's - let me know if anything doesn't work!

Answer

It is very hard set caret in proper position when you have advance element like (p) (span) etc. The goal is to get (object text):

<div id="editable" contenteditable="true">dddddddddddddddddddddddddddd<p>dd</p>psss<p>dd</p>
    <p>dd</p>
    <p>text text text</p>
</div>
<p id='we'></p>
<button onclick="set_mouse()">focus</button>
<script>

    function set_mouse() {
        var as = document.getElementById("editable");
        el = as.childNodes[1].childNodes[0];//goal is to get ('we') id to write (object Text) because it work only in object text
        var range = document.createRange();
        var sel = window.getSelection();
        range.setStart(el, 1);
        range.collapse(true);
        sel.removeAllRanges();
        sel.addRange(range);

        document.getElementById("we").innerHTML = el;// see out put of we id
    }
</script>
Answer

If you don't want to use jQuery you can try this approach:

public setCaretPosition() {
    const editableDiv = document.getElementById('contenteditablediv');
    const lastLine = this.input.nativeElement.innerHTML.replace(/.*?(<br>)/g, '');
    const selection = window.getSelection();
    selection.collapse(editableDiv.childNodes[editableDiv.childNodes.length - 1], lastLine.length);
}

editableDiv you editable element, don't forget to set an id for it. Then you need to get your innerHTML from the element and cut all brake lines. And just set collapse with next arguments.

Answer
  const el = document.getElementById("editable");
  el.focus()
  let char = 1, sel; // character at which to place caret

  if (document.selection) {
    sel = document.selection.createRange();
    sel.moveStart('character', char);
    sel.select();
  }
  else {
    sel = window.getSelection();
    sel.collapse(el.lastChild, char);
  }
Answer

I'm writting a syntax highlighter (and basic code editor), and I needed to know how to auto-type a single quote char and move the caret back (like a lot of code editors nowadays).

Heres a snippet of my solution, thanks to much help from this thread, the MDN docs, and a lot of moz console watching..

//onKeyPress event

if (evt.key === "\"") {
    let sel = window.getSelection();
    let offset = sel.focusOffset;
    let focus = sel.focusNode;

    focus.textContent += "\""; //setting div's innerText directly creates new
    //nodes, which invalidate our selections, so we modify the focusNode directly

    let range = document.createRange();
    range.selectNode(focus);
    range.setStart(focus, offset);

    range.collapse(true);
    sel.removeAllRanges();
    sel.addRange(range);
}

//end onKeyPress event

This is in a contenteditable div element

I leave this here as a thanks, realizing there is already an accepted answer.

Answer

I made this for my simple text editor.

Differences from other methods:

  • High performance
  • Works with all spaces

usage

// get current selection
const [start, end] = getSelectionOffset(container)

// change container html
container.innerHTML = newHtml

// restore selection
setSelectionOffset(container, start, end)

// use this instead innerText for get text with keep all spaces
const innerText = getInnerText(container)
const textBeforeCaret = innerText.substring(0, start)
const textAfterCaret = innerText.substring(start)

selection.ts

/** return true if node found */
function searchNode(
    container: Node,
    startNode: Node,
    predicate: (node: Node) => boolean,
    excludeSibling?: boolean,
): boolean {
    if (predicate(startNode as Text)) {
        return true
    }

    for (let i = 0, len = startNode.childNodes.length; i < len; i++) {
        if (searchNode(startNode, startNode.childNodes[i], predicate, true)) {
            return true
        }
    }

    if (!excludeSibling) {
        let parentNode = startNode
        while (parentNode && parentNode !== container) {
            let nextSibling = parentNode.nextSibling
            while (nextSibling) {
                if (searchNode(container, nextSibling, predicate, true)) {
                    return true
                }
                nextSibling = nextSibling.nextSibling
            }
            parentNode = parentNode.parentNode
        }
    }

    return false
}

function createRange(container: Node, start: number, end: number): Range {
    let startNode
    searchNode(container, container, node => {
        if (node.nodeType === Node.TEXT_NODE) {
            const dataLength = (node as Text).data.length
            if (start <= dataLength) {
                startNode = node
                return true
            }
            start -= dataLength
            end -= dataLength
            return false
        }
    })

    let endNode
    if (startNode) {
        searchNode(container, startNode, node => {
            if (node.nodeType === Node.TEXT_NODE) {
                const dataLength = (node as Text).data.length
                if (end <= dataLength) {
                    endNode = node
                    return true
                }
                end -= dataLength
                return false
            }
        })
    }

    const range = document.createRange()
    if (startNode) {
        if (start < startNode.data.length) {
            range.setStart(startNode, start)
        } else {
            range.setStartAfter(startNode)
        }
    } else {
        if (start === 0) {
            range.setStart(container, 0)
        } else {
            range.setStartAfter(container)
        }
    }

    if (endNode) {
        if (end < endNode.data.length) {
            range.setEnd(endNode, end)
        } else {
            range.setEndAfter(endNode)
        }
    } else {
        if (end === 0) {
            range.setEnd(container, 0)
        } else {
            range.setEndAfter(container)
        }
    }

    return range
}

export function setSelectionOffset(node: Node, start: number, end: number) {
    const range = createRange(node, start, end)
    const selection = window.getSelection()
    selection.removeAllRanges()
    selection.addRange(range)
}

function hasChild(container: Node, node: Node): boolean {
    while (node) {
        if (node === container) {
            return true
        }
        node = node.parentNode
    }

    return false
}

function getAbsoluteOffset(container: Node, offset: number) {
    if (container.nodeType === Node.TEXT_NODE) {
        return offset
    }

    let absoluteOffset = 0
    for (let i = 0, len = Math.min(container.childNodes.length, offset); i < len; i++) {
        const childNode = container.childNodes[i]
        searchNode(childNode, childNode, node => {
            if (node.nodeType === Node.TEXT_NODE) {
                absoluteOffset += (node as Text).data.length
            }
            return false
        })
    }

    return absoluteOffset
}

export function getSelectionOffset(container: Node): [number, number] {
    let start = 0
    let end = 0

    const selection = window.getSelection()
    for (let i = 0, len = selection.rangeCount; i < len; i++) {
        const range = selection.getRangeAt(i)
        if (range.intersectsNode(container)) {
            const startNode = range.startContainer
            searchNode(container, container, node => {
                if (startNode === node) {
                    start += getAbsoluteOffset(node, range.startOffset)
                    return true
                }

                const dataLength = node.nodeType === Node.TEXT_NODE
                    ? (node as Text).data.length
                    : 0

                start += dataLength
                end += dataLength

                return false
            })

            const endNode = range.endContainer
            searchNode(container, startNode, node => {
                if (endNode === node) {
                    end += getAbsoluteOffset(node, range.endOffset)
                    return true
                }

                const dataLength = node.nodeType === Node.TEXT_NODE
                    ? (node as Text).data.length
                    : 0

                end += dataLength

                return false
            })

            break
        }
    }

    return [start, end]
}

export function getInnerText(container: Node) {
    const buffer = []
    searchNode(container, container, node => {
        if (node.nodeType === Node.TEXT_NODE) {
            buffer.push((node as Text).data)
        }
        return false
    })
    return buffer.join('')
}
Answer

I think it's not simple to set caret to some position in contenteditable element. I wrote my own code for this. It bypasses the node tree calcing how many characters left and sets caret in needed element. I didn't test this code much.

//Set offset in current contenteditable field (for start by default or for with forEnd=true)
function setCurSelectionOffset(offset, forEnd = false) {
    const sel = window.getSelection();
    if (sel.rangeCount !== 1 || !document.activeElement) return;

    const firstRange = sel.getRangeAt(0);

    if (offset > 0) {
        bypassChildNodes(document.activeElement, offset);
    }else{
        if (forEnd)
            firstRange.setEnd(document.activeElement, 0);
        else
            firstRange.setStart(document.activeElement, 0);
    }



    //Bypass in depth
    function bypassChildNodes(el, leftOffset) {
        const childNodes = el.childNodes;

        for (let i = 0; i < childNodes.length && leftOffset; i++) {
            const childNode = childNodes[i];

            if (childNode.nodeType === 3) {
                const curLen = childNode.textContent.length;

                if (curLen >= leftOffset) {
                    if (forEnd)
                        firstRange.setEnd(childNode, leftOffset);
                    else
                        firstRange.setStart(childNode, leftOffset);
                    return 0;
                }else{
                    leftOffset -= curLen;
                }
            }else
            if (childNode.nodeType === 1) {
                leftOffset = bypassChildNodes(childNode, leftOffset);
            }
        }

        return leftOffset;
    }
}

I also wrote code to get current caret position (didn't test):

//Get offset in current contenteditable field (start offset by default or end offset with calcEnd=true)
function getCurSelectionOffset(calcEnd = false) {
    const sel = window.getSelection();
    if (sel.rangeCount !== 1 || !document.activeElement) return 0;

    const firstRange     = sel.getRangeAt(0),
          startContainer = calcEnd ? firstRange.endContainer : firstRange.startContainer,
          startOffset    = calcEnd ? firstRange.endOffset    : firstRange.startOffset;
    let needStop = false;

    return bypassChildNodes(document.activeElement);



    //Bypass in depth
    function bypassChildNodes(el) {
        const childNodes = el.childNodes;
        let ans = 0;

        if (el === startContainer) {
            if (startContainer.nodeType === 3) {
                ans = startOffset;
            }else
            if (startContainer.nodeType === 1) {
                for (let i = 0; i < startOffset; i++) {
                    const childNode = childNodes[i];

                    ans += childNode.nodeType === 3 ? childNode.textContent.length :
                           childNode.nodeType === 1 ? childNode.innerText.length :
                           0;
                }
            }

            needStop = true;
        }else{
            for (let i = 0; i < childNodes.length && !needStop; i++) {
                const childNode = childNodes[i];
                ans += bypassChildNodes(childNode);
            }
        }

        return ans;
    }
}

You also need to be aware of range.startOffset and range.endOffset contain character offset for text nodes (nodeType === 3) and child node offset for element nodes (nodeType === 1). range.startContainer and range.endContainer may refer to any element node of any level in the tree (of course they also can refer to text nodes).

Answer

Based on Tim Down's answer, but it checks for the last known "good" text row. It places the cursor at the very end.

Furthermore, I could also recursively/iteratively check the last child of each consecutive last child to find the absolute last "good" text node in the DOM.

function onClickHandler() {
  setCaret(document.getElementById("editable"));
}

function setCaret(el) {
  let range = document.createRange(),
      sel = window.getSelection(),
      lastKnownIndex = -1;
  for (let i = 0; i < el.childNodes.length; i++) {
    if (isTextNodeAndContentNoEmpty(el.childNodes[i])) {
      lastKnownIndex = i;
    }
  }
  if (lastKnownIndex === -1) {
    throw new Error('Could not find valid text content');
  }
  let row = el.childNodes[lastKnownIndex],
      col = row.textContent.length;
  range.setStart(row, col);
  range.collapse(true);
  sel.removeAllRanges();
  sel.addRange(range);
  el.focus();
}

function isTextNodeAndContentNoEmpty(node) {
  return node.nodeType == Node.TEXT_NODE && node.textContent.trim().length > 0
}
<div id="editable" contenteditable="true">
  text text text<br>text text text<br>text text text<br>
</div>
<button id="button" onclick="onClickHandler()">focus</button>

Answer

I refactored @Liam's answer. I put it in a class with static methods, I made its functions receive an element instead of an #id, and some other small tweaks.

This code is particularly good for fixing the cursor in a rich text box that you might be making with <div contenteditable="true">. I was stuck on this for several days before arriving at the below code.

edit: His answer and this answer have a bug involving hitting enter. Since enter doesn't count as a character, the cursor position gets messed up after hitting enter. If I am able to fix the code, I will update my answer.

edit2: Save yourself a lot of headaches and make sure your <div contenteditable=true> is display: inline-block. This fixes some bugs related to Chrome putting <div> instead of <br> when you press enter.

How To Use

let richText = document.getElementById('rich-text');
let offset = Cursor.getCurrentCursorPosition(richText);
// do stuff to the innerHTML, such as adding/removing <span> tags
Cursor.setCurrentCursorPosition(offset, richText);
richText.focus();

Code

// Credit to Liam (Stack Overflow)
// https://stackoverflow.com/a/41034697/3480193
class Cursor {
    static getCurrentCursorPosition(parentElement) {
        var selection = window.getSelection(),
            charCount = -1,
            node;
        
        if (selection.focusNode) {
            if (Cursor._isChildOf(selection.focusNode, parentElement)) {
                node = selection.focusNode; 
                charCount = selection.focusOffset;
                
                while (node) {
                    if (node === parentElement) {
                        break;
                    }

                    if (node.previousSibling) {
                        node = node.previousSibling;
                        charCount += node.textContent.length;
                    } else {
                        node = node.parentNode;
                        if (node === null) {
                            break;
                        }
                    }
                }
            }
        }
        
        return charCount;
    }
    
    static setCurrentCursorPosition(chars, element) {
        if (chars >= 0) {
            var selection = window.getSelection();
            
            let range = Cursor._createRange(element, { count: chars });

            if (range) {
                range.collapse(false);
                selection.removeAllRanges();
                selection.addRange(range);
            }
        }
    }
    
    static _createRange(node, chars, range) {
        if (!range) {
            range = document.createRange()
            range.selectNode(node);
            range.setStart(node, 0);
        }

        if (chars.count === 0) {
            range.setEnd(node, chars.count);
        } else if (node && chars.count >0) {
            if (node.nodeType === Node.TEXT_NODE) {
                if (node.textContent.length < chars.count) {
                    chars.count -= node.textContent.length;
                } else {
                    range.setEnd(node, chars.count);
                    chars.count = 0;
                }
            } else {
                for (var lp = 0; lp < node.childNodes.length; lp++) {
                    range = Cursor._createRange(node.childNodes[lp], chars, range);

                    if (chars.count === 0) {
                    break;
                    }
                }
            }
        } 

        return range;
    }
    
    static _isChildOf(node, parentElement) {
        while (node !== null) {
            if (node === parentElement) {
                return true;
            }
            node = node.parentNode;
        }

        return false;
    }
}

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