Javascript – Set cursor position on contentEditable

contenteditablecursor-positionhtmljavascriptjquery

I am after a definitive, cross-browser solution to set the cursor/caret position to the last known position when a contentEditable='on' <div> regains focus. It appears default functionality of a content editable div is to move the caret/cursor to the beginning of the text in the div each time you click on it, which is undesirable.

I believe I would have to store in a variable the current cursor position when they are leaving focus of the div, and then re-set this when they have focus inside again, but I have not been able to put together, or find a working code sample yet.

If anybody has any thoughts, working code snippets or samples I'd be happy to see them.

I don't really have any code yet but here is what I do have:

<script type="text/javascript">
// jQuery
$(document).ready(function() {
   $('#area').focus(function() { .. }  // focus I would imagine I need.
}
</script>
<div id="area" contentEditable="true"></div>

PS. I have tried this resource but it appears it does not work for a <div>. Perhaps only for textarea (How to move cursor to end of contenteditable entity)

Best Solution

This solution works in all major browsers:

saveSelection() is attached to the onmouseup and onkeyup events of the div and saves the selection to the variable savedRange.

restoreSelection() is attached to the onfocus event of the div and reselects the selection saved in savedRange.

This works perfectly unless you want the selection to be restored when the user clicks the div aswell (which is a bit unintuitative as normally you expect the cursor to go where you click but code included for completeness)

To achieve this the onclick and onmousedown events are canceled by the function cancelEvent() which is a cross browser function to cancel the event. The cancelEvent() function also runs the restoreSelection() function because as the click event is cancelled the div doesn't receive focus and therefore nothing is selected at all unless this functions is run.

The variable isInFocus stores whether it is in focus and is changed to "false" onblur and "true" onfocus. This allows click events to be cancelled only if the div is not in focus (otherwise you would not be able to change the selection at all).

If you wish to the selection to be change when the div is focused by a click, and not restore the selection onclick (and only when focus is given to the element programtically using document.getElementById("area").focus(); or similar then simply remove the onclick and onmousedown events. The onblur event and the onDivBlur() and cancelEvent() functions can also safely be removed in these circumstances.

This code should work if dropped directly into the body of an html page if you want to test it quickly:

<div id="area" style="width:300px;height:300px;" onblur="onDivBlur();" onmousedown="return cancelEvent(event);" onclick="return cancelEvent(event);" contentEditable="true" onmouseup="saveSelection();" onkeyup="saveSelection();" onfocus="restoreSelection();"></div>
<script type="text/javascript">
var savedRange,isInFocus;
function saveSelection()
{
    if(window.getSelection)//non IE Browsers
    {
        savedRange = window.getSelection().getRangeAt(0);
    }
    else if(document.selection)//IE
    { 
        savedRange = document.selection.createRange();  
    } 
}

function restoreSelection()
{
    isInFocus = true;
    document.getElementById("area").focus();
    if (savedRange != null) {
        if (window.getSelection)//non IE and there is already a selection
        {
            var s = window.getSelection();
            if (s.rangeCount > 0) 
                s.removeAllRanges();
            s.addRange(savedRange);
        }
        else if (document.createRange)//non IE and no selection
        {
            window.getSelection().addRange(savedRange);
        }
        else if (document.selection)//IE
        {
            savedRange.select();
        }
    }
}
//this part onwards is only needed if you want to restore selection onclick
var isInFocus = false;
function onDivBlur()
{
    isInFocus = false;
}

function cancelEvent(e)
{
    if (isInFocus == false && savedRange != null) {
        if (e && e.preventDefault) {
            //alert("FF");
            e.stopPropagation(); // DOM style (return false doesn't always work in FF)
            e.preventDefault();
        }
        else {
            window.event.cancelBubble = true;//IE stopPropagation
        }
        restoreSelection();
        return false; // false = IE style
    }
}
</script>