How to get selected html text with javascript? [duplicate]

I can use the following code to get selected text:

text=window.getSelection(); /// for Firefox text=document.selection.createRange().text; /// for IE

But how can I get the selected Html, which includes the text and html tags?



In IE <= 10 browsers, it's:


As @DarrenMB pointed out IE11 no longer supports this. See this answer for reference.

In non-IE browsers, I just tried playing with this... this seems to work, WILL have side effects from breaking nodes in half and creating an extra span, but it's a starting point:

var range = window.getSelection().getRangeAt(0),
  content = range.extractContents(),
     span = document.createElement('SPAN');

var htmlContent = span.innerHTML;



Unfortunately, I can't seem to put the node back as it was (since you can be pulling half the text from a span, for instance).


Here's what I came up with. Tested with IE, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera. Doesn't return empty string.

function getSelected() {
    var text = "";
    if (window.getSelection
    && window.getSelection().toString()
    && $(window.getSelection()).attr('type') != "Caret") {
        text = window.getSelection();
        return text;
    else if (document.getSelection
    && document.getSelection().toString()
    && $(document.getSelection()).attr('type') != "Caret") {
        text = document.getSelection();
        return text;
    else {
        var selection = document.selection && document.selection.createRange();

        if (!(typeof selection === "undefined")
        && selection.text
        && selection.text.toString()) {
            text = selection.text;
            return text;

    return false;


I modified your function to work (I'm using jQuery but those pieces can be easily rewritten in Javascript):

function getSelectionHtml() {
    var htmlContent = ''

    // IE
    if ($.browser.msie) {
        htmlContent = document.selection.createRange().htmlText;
    } else {
        var range = window.getSelection().getRangeAt(0);
        var content = range.cloneContents();

        $('body').append('<span id="selection_html_placeholder"></span>');
        var placeholder = document.getElementById('selection_html_placeholder');


        htmlContent = placeholder.innerHTML;


    return htmlContent;

Here's a function that will get you HTML corresponding to the current selection in all major browsers. It also handles multiple ranges within a selection (currently only implemented in Firefox):

function getSelectionHtml() {
    var html = "";
    if (typeof window.getSelection != "undefined") {
        var sel = window.getSelection();
        if (sel.rangeCount) {
            var container = document.createElement("div");
            for (var i = 0, len = sel.rangeCount; i < len; ++i) {
            html = container.innerHTML;
    } else if (typeof document.selection != "undefined") {
        if (document.selection.type == "Text") {
            html = document.selection.createRange().htmlText;
    return html;


I found highlight plugin to be the best match, it is very light and with it you can highlight part of the content:



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