JavaScript Answers

How to Determine if an HTML Element’s Content Overflows with JavaScript?

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The HTML element’s scrollWidth property has the full width of the content in an element.

The HTML element’s scrollHeight property has the full height of the content in an element.

The HTML element’s clientWidth property has the width of the content in an element that’s displayed.

The HTML element’s clientHeight property has the height of the content in an element that’s displayed.

Therefore, we can compare them to see if any content overflows.

If scrollWidth is bigger than clientWidth or scrollHeight is bigger than clientHeight , then we know content is overflowing.

For instance, if we have the following HTML:

<div style='width: 100px; height: 100px; overflow: auto'>
  Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Integer efficitur mauris at nisl accumsan suscipit. Aliquam tempus ultrices consectetur.

Then we can check if the div’s content is overflowing the div by writing:

const checkOverflow = (el) => {
  const isOverflowing = el.clientWidth < el.scrollWidth ||
    el.clientHeight < el.scrollHeight;
  return isOverflowing;

const div = document.querySelector('div')

We create the checkOverflow function that takes the el DOM element object as the parameter.

And return the comparison between clientWidth and scrollWidth and clientHeight and scrollHeight as we described.

The console log should log true since the text in the div overflows the height of the div, so el.clientHeight < el.scrollHeight returns true .

By John Au-Yeung

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

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