DocumentOrShadowRoot.getSelection()

This is an experimental technology
Check the Browser compatibility table carefully before using this in production.

The getSelection() property of the DocumentOrShadowRoot interface returns a Selection object representing the range of text selected by the user, or the current position of the caret.

Syntax

var selection = documentOrShadowRootInstance.getSelection()

Parameters

None.

Returns

Selection object.

Example

function foo() {
    var selObj = document.getSelection(); 
    alert(selObj);
    var selRange = selObj.getRangeAt(0);
    // do stuff with the range
}

Notes

String representation of the Selection object

In JavaScript, when an object is passed to a function expecting a string (like Window.alert()), the object's toString() method is called and the returned value is passed to the function. This can make the object appear to be a string when used with other functions when it is really an object with properties and methods.

In the above example, selObj.toString() is automatically called when it is passed to Window.alert(). However, attempting to use a JavaScript String property or method such as length or substr directly on a Selection object results in an error if it does not have that property or method and may return unexpected results if it does. To use a Selection object as a string, call its toString() method directly:

var selectedText = selObj.toString();
  • selObj is a Selection object.
  • selectedText is a string (Selected text).

 

You can call Window.getSelection(), which works identically to Document.getSelection().

It is worth noting that currently getSelection() doesn't work on the content of <input> elements in Firefox. HTMLInputElement.setSelectionRange()) could be used to work around this.

Notice also the difference between selection and focus. Document.activeElement returns the focused element.

 

Specifications

Specification Status Comment
Shadow DOM
The definition of 'DocumentOrShadowRoot' in that specification.
Obsolete Initial definition.

Browser Compatibility

Update compatibility data on GitHub
DesktopMobile
ChromeEdgeFirefoxInternet ExplorerOperaSafariAndroid webviewChrome for AndroidFirefox for AndroidOpera for AndroidSafari on iOSSamsung Internet
getSelection
Experimental
Chrome Full support 53Edge Full support YesFirefox Full support 63IE Full support YesOpera Full support 40Safari Full support YesWebView Android Full support 53Chrome Android Full support 53Firefox Android Full support 63Opera Android Full support 41Safari iOS Full support YesSamsung Internet Android Full support 6.0

Legend

Full support  
Full support
Experimental. Expect behavior to change in the future.
Experimental. Expect behavior to change in the future.

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