JavaScript Answers

How to Listen for Changes to HTML Elements with the contenteditable Attribute with JavaScript?

Spread the love

Elements with the contenteditable attribute added to it lets users edit the content inside the element.

Sometimes, we may want to listen for change events that are made to the element.

In this article, we’ll look at how to listen for changes triggered in elements that have the contenteditable attribute applied.

Listen to the input Event Emitted by the Element

When we change the content of an element that has the contenteditable attribute added, then input event will be emitted.

Therefore, we can listen to the input event of the element to listen for changes in its content.

For instance, we can write the following HTML:

<div contenteditable>
  hello world

And then we can add an event listener with the addEventListener with:

const div = document.querySelector("div")
div.addEventListener("input", (e) => {
}, false);

When we change the content in the div, we’ll see the input event listener run.

We can get the element’s attributes and styles with the property.

The e.timestamp property is the time in milliseconds at which the event is created.


We can also use the MutationObserver to watch for changes to the content of an element.

This is because it can listen for changes in the DOM, including any content changes in an element.

For instance, we can write:

const div = document.querySelector("div")
const observer = new MutationObserver((mutationRecords) => {
observer.observe(div, {
  characterData: true,
  subtree: true,

and keep the HTML the same.

We pass in a callback with the mutationRecords object to get the mutation records.

chartacterData set to true means we watch for text content changes.

And subtree set to true means we watch for the element’s DOM subtree changes.

We get the latest content of the div with the mutationRecords[0] property.


We can watch for changes of the content of an HTML with the contenteditable attribute applied with the MutationObserver or listen to the input event of the element.

By John Au-Yeung

Web developer specializing in React, Vue, and front end development.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *