How do I remove a file from the FileList

I'm building a drag-and-drop-to-upload web application using HTML5, and I'm dropping the files onto a div and of course fetching the dataTransfer object, which gives me the FileList.

Now I want to remove some of the files, but I don't know how, or if it's even possible.

Preferably I'd like to just delete them from the FileList; I've got no use for them. But if that's not possible, should I instead write in checks in code that interacts with the FileList? That seems cumbersome.



If you want to delete only several of the selected files: you can't. The File API Working Draft you linked to contains a note:

The HTMLInputElement interface [HTML5] has a readonly FileList attribute, […]
[emphasis mine]

Reading a bit of the HTML 5 Working Draft, I came across the Common input element APIs. It appears you can delete the entire file list by setting the value property of the input object to an empty string, like:

document.getElementById('multifile').value = "";

BTW, the article Using files from web applications might also be of interest.


This question has already been marked answered, but I'd like to share some information that might help others with using FileList.

It would be convenient to treat a FileList as an array, but methods like sort, shift, pop, and slice don't work. As others have suggested, you can copy the FileList to an array. However, rather than using a loop, there's a simple one line solution to handle this conversion.

 // fileDialog.files is a FileList 

 var fileBuffer=[];

 // append the file list to an array
 Array.prototype.push.apply( fileBuffer, fileDialog.files ); // <-- here

 // And now you may manipulated the result as required

 // shift an item off the array
 var file = fileBuffer.shift(0,1);  // <-- works as expected + ", " + file.size + ", " + file.type );

 // sort files by size
 fileBuffer.sort(function(a,b) {
    return a.size > b.size ? 1 : a.size < b.size ? -1 : 0;

Tested OK in FF, Chrome, and IE10+


If you are targeting evergreen browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Edge, but also works in Safari 9+) or you can afford a polyfill, you can turn the FileList into an array by using Array.from() like this:

let fileArray = Array.from(fileList);

Then it's easy to handle the array of Files like any other array.


Since we are in the HTML5 realm, this is my solution. The gist is that you push the files to an Array instead of leaving them in a FileList, then using XHR2, you push the files to a FormData object. Example below.

Node.prototype.replaceWith = function(node)
    this.parentNode.replaceChild(node, this);
if(window.File && window.FileList)
    var topicForm = document.getElementById("yourForm");
    topicForm.fileZone = document.getElementById("fileDropZoneElement");
    topicForm.fileZone.files = new Array();
    topicForm.fileZone.inputWindow = document.createElement("input");
    topicForm.fileZone.inputWindow.setAttribute("type", "file");
    topicForm.fileZone.inputWindow.setAttribute("multiple", "multiple");
    topicForm.onsubmit = function(event)
        var request = new XMLHttpRequest();
            topicForm.ajax.value = "true";
            request.upload.onprogress = function(event)
                var progress = event.loaded.toString() + " bytes transfered.";
                progress = Math.round(event.loaded / * 100).toString() + "%";
                topicForm.fileZone.innerHTML = progress.toString();
            request.onload = function(event)
                response = JSON.parse(request.responseText);
                // Handle the response here.
  , topicForm.getAttribute("action"), true);
            var data = new FormData(topicForm);
            for(var i = 0, file; file = topicForm.fileZone.files[i]; i++)
                data.append("file" + i.toString(), file);
    topicForm.fileZone.firstChild.replaceWith(document.createTextNode("Drop files or click here."));
    var handleFiles = function(files)
        for(var i = 0, file; file = files[i]; i++)
    topicForm.fileZone.ondrop = function(event)
    topicForm.fileZone.inputWindow.onchange = function(event)
    topicForm.fileZone.ondragover = function(event)
    topicForm.fileZone.onclick = function()
    topicForm.fileZone.firstChild.replaceWith(document.createTextNode("It's time to update your browser."));

I have found very quick & short workaround for this. Tested in many popular browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Safari);

First, you have to convert FileList to an Array

var newFileList = Array.from(;

to delete the particular element use this


There might be a more elegant way to do this but here is my solution. With Jquery

fileEle.value = "";
var parEle = $(fileEle).parent();
var newEle = $(fileEle).clone()

Basically you cleat the value of the input. Clone it and put the clone in place of the old one.


This is extemporary, but I had the same problem which I solved this way. In my case I was uploading the files via XMLHttp request, so I was able to post the FileList cloned data through formdata appending. Functionality is that you can drag and drop or select multiple files as many times as you want (selecting files again won't reset the cloned FileList), remove any file you want from the (cloned) file list, and submit via xmlhttprequest whatever was left there. This is what I did. It is my first post here so code is a little messy. Sorry. Ah, and I had to use jQuery instead of $ as it was in Joomla script.

// some global variables
var clon = {};  // will be my FileList clone
var removedkeys = 0; // removed keys counter for later processing the request
var NextId = 0; // counter to add entries to the clone and not replace existing ones

    jQuery("#form input").change(function () {

    // making the clone
    var curFiles = this.files;
    // temporary object clone before copying info to the clone
    var temparr = jQuery.extend(true, {}, curFiles);
    // delete unnecessary FileList keys that were cloned
    delete temparr["length"];
    delete temparr["item"];

    if (Object.keys(clon).length === 0){
       jQuery.extend(true, clon, temparr);
       var keysArr = Object.keys(clon);
       NextId = Math.max.apply(null, keysArr)+1; // FileList keys are numbers
       if (NextId < curFiles.length){ // a bug I found and had to solve for not replacing my temparr keys...
          NextId = curFiles.length;
       for (var key in temparr) { // I have to rename new entries for not overwriting existing keys in clon
          if (temparr.hasOwnProperty(key)) {
             temparr[NextId] = temparr[key];
             delete temparr[key];
                // meter aca los cambios de id en los html tags con el nuevo NextId
       jQuery.extend(true, clon, temparr); // copy new entries to clon

// modifying the html file list display

if (NextId === 0){
    for(var i=0; i<curFiles.length; i++) {
        var f = curFiles[i];
        jQuery("#filelist").append("<p id=\"file"+i+"\" style=\'margin-bottom: 3px!important;\'>" + + "<a style=\"float:right;cursor:pointer;\" onclick=\"BorrarFile("+i+")\">x</a></p>"); // the function BorrarFile will handle file deletion from the clone by file id
    for(var i=0; i<curFiles.length; i++) {
        var f = curFiles[i];
        jQuery("#filelist").append("<p id=\"file"+(i+NextId-curFiles.length)+"\" style=\'margin-bottom: 3px!important;\'>" + + "<a style=\"float:right;cursor:pointer;\" onclick=\"BorrarFile("+(i+NextId-curFiles.length)+")\">x</a></p>"); // yeap, i+NextId-curFiles.length actually gets it right
// update the total files count wherever you want
jQuery("#form p").text(Object.keys(clon).length + " file(s) selected");

function BorrarFile(id){ // handling file deletion from clone
    jQuery("#file"+id).remove(); // remove the html filelist element
    delete clon[id]; // delete the entry
    removedkeys++; // add to removed keys counter
    if (Object.keys(clon).length === 0){
        jQuery("#form p").text(Object.keys(clon).length + " file(s) selected");
        jQuery("#fileToUpload").val(""); // I had to reset the form file input for my form check function before submission. Else it would send even though my clone was empty
        jQuery("#form p").text(Object.keys(clon).length + " file(s) selected");
// now my form check function

function check(){
    if( document.getElementById("fileToUpload").files.length == 0 ){
        alert("No file selected");
        return false;
        var _validFileExtensions = [".pdf", ".PDF"]; // I wanted pdf files
        // retrieve input files
        var arrInputs = clon;

       // validating files
       for (var i = 0; i < Object.keys(arrInputs).length+removedkeys; i++) {
         if (typeof arrInputs[i]!="undefined"){
           var oInput = arrInputs[i];
           if (oInput.type == "application/pdf") {
               var sFileName =;
               if (sFileName.length > 0) {
                   var blnValid = false;
                   for (var j = 0; j < _validFileExtensions.length; j++) {
                     var sCurExtension = _validFileExtensions[j];
                     if (sFileName.substr(sFileName.length - sCurExtension.length, sCurExtension.length).toLowerCase() == sCurExtension.toLowerCase()) {
                       blnValid = true;
                  if (!blnValid) {
                    alert("Sorry, " + sFileName + " is invalid, allowed extensions are: " + _validFileExtensions.join(", "));
                    return false;
           alert("Sorry, " + arrInputs[0].name + " is invalid, allowed extensions are: " + _validFileExtensions.join(" or "));
           return false;

    // proceed with the data appending and submission
    // here some hidden input values i had previously set. Now retrieving them for submission. My form wasn't actually even a form...
    var fecha = jQuery("#fecha").val();
    var vendor = jQuery("#vendor").val();
    var sku = jQuery("#sku").val();
    // create the formdata object
    var formData = new FormData();
    formData.append("fecha", fecha);
    formData.append("vendor", encodeURI(vendor));
    formData.append("sku", sku);
    // now appending the clone file data (finally!)
    var fila = clon; // i just did this because I had already written the following using the "fila" object, so I copy my clone again
    // the interesting part. As entries in my clone object aren't consecutive numbers I cannot iterate normally, so I came up with the following idea
    for (i = 0; i < Object.keys(fila).length+removedkeys; i++) { 
        if(typeof fila[i]!="undefined"){
            formData.append("fileToUpload[]", fila[i]); // VERY IMPORTANT the formdata key for the files HAS to be an array. It will be later retrieved as $_FILES['fileToUpload']['temp_name'][i]
    jQuery("#submitbtn").fadeOut("slow"); // remove the upload btn so it can't be used again
    jQuery("#drag").html(""); // clearing the output message element
    // start the request
    var xhttp = new XMLHttpRequest();
    xhttp.addEventListener("progress", function(e) {
            var done = e.position || e.loaded, total = e.totalSize ||;
        }, false);
        if ( xhttp.upload ) {
            xhttp.upload.onprogress = function(e) {
                var done = e.position || e.loaded, total = e.totalSize ||;
                var percent = done / total;
                jQuery("#drag").html(Math.round(percent * 100) + "%");
      xhttp.onreadystatechange = function() {
        if (this.readyState == 4 && this.status == 200) {
         var respuesta = this.responseText;
      };"POST", "your_upload_handler.php", true);  
    return true;

Now the html and styles for this. I'm quite a newbie but all this actually worked for me and took me a while to figure it out.

<div id="form" class="formpos">
<!--    Select the pdf to upload:-->
  <input type="file" name="fileToUpload[]" id="fileToUpload" accept="application/pdf" multiple>
  <div><p id="drag">Drop your files here or click to select them</p>
  <button id="submitbtn" onclick="return check()" >Upload</button>
// these inputs are passed with different names on the formdata. Be aware of that
// I was echoing this, so that's why I use the single quote for php variables
  <input type="hidden" id="fecha" name="fecha_copy" value="'.$fecha.'" />
  <input type="hidden" id="vendor" name="vendorname" value="'.$vendor.'" />
  <input type="hidden" id="sku" name="sku" value="'.$sku.'"" />
<h1 style="width: 500px!important;margin:20px auto 0px!important;font-size:24px!important;">File list:</h1>
<div id="filelist" style="width: 500px!important;margin:10px auto 0px!important;">Nothing selected yet</div>

The styles for that. I had to mark some of them !important to override Joomla behavior.

  width: 500px;
  height: 200px;
  border: 4px dashed #999;
  margin: 30px auto 100px;
.formpos  p{
  text-align: center!important;
  padding: 80px 30px 0px;
  color: #000;
.formpos  div{
  width: 100%!important;
  height: 100%!important;
  text-align: center!important;
  margin-bottom: 30px!important;
.formpos input{
  position: absolute!important;
  margin: 0!important;
  padding: 0!important;
  width: 500px!important;
  height: 200px!important;
  outline: none!important;
  opacity: 0!important;
.formpos button{
  margin: 0;
  color: #fff;
  background: #16a085;
  border: none;
  width: 508px;
  height: 35px;
  margin-left: -4px;
  border-radius: 4px;
  transition: all .2s ease;
  outline: none;
.formpos button:hover{
  background: #149174;
  color: #0C5645;
.formpos button:active{

I hope this helps.


Thanks @Nicholas Anderson simple and straight , here is your code applied and working at my code using jquery.


<input class="rangelog btn border-aero" id="file_fr" name="file_fr[]" multiple type="file" placeholder="{$labels_helpfiles_placeholder_file}">
<span style="cursor: pointer; cursor: hand;" onclick="cleanInputs($('#file_fr'))"><i class="fa fa-trash"></i> Empty chosen files</span>


   function cleanInputs(fileEle){
    var parEle = $(fileEle).parent();
    var newEle = $(fileEle).clone()

If you have the luck to be sending a post request to the database with the files and you have the files you want to send in your DOM

you can simply check if the file in the file list is present in your DOM, and of course if it's not you just don't send that element to de DB.


You may wish to create an array and use that instead of the read-only filelist.

var myReadWriteList = new Array();
// user selects files later...
// then as soon as convenient... 
myReadWriteList = FileListReadOnly;

After that point do your uploading against your list instead of the built in list. I am not sure of the context you are working in but I am working with a jquery plugin I found and what I had to do was take the plugin's source and put it in the page using <script> tags. Then above the source I added my array so that it can act as a global variable and the plugin could reference it.

Then it was just a matter of swapping out the references.

I think this would allow you to also add drag & drop as again, if the built in list is read-only then how else could you get the dropped files into the list?



I just change the type of input to the text and back to the file :D


I know this is an old question but it's ranking high on search engines in regards to this issue.

properties in the FileList object cannot be deleted but at least on Firefox they can be changed. My workaround this issue was to add a property IsValid=true to those files that passed check and IsValid=false to those that didn't.

then I just loop through the list to make sure that only the properties with IsValid=true are added to FormData.


In vue js :

self.$refs.inputFile.value = ''


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