The Event interface's preventDefault() method tells the user agent that if the event does not get explicitly handled, its default action should not be taken as it normally would be. The event continues to propagate as usual, unless one of its event listeners calls stopPropagation() or stopImmediatePropagation(), either of which terminates propagation at once.

As noted below, calling preventDefault() for a non-cancelable event, such as one dispatched via EventTarget.dispatchEvent(), without specifying cancelable: true has no effect.




Blocking default click handling

Toggling a checkbox is the default action of clicking on a checkbox. This example demonstrates how to prevent that from happening:


document.querySelector("#id-checkbox").addEventListener("click", function(event) {
         document.getElementById("output-box").innerHTML += "Sorry! <code>preventDefault()</code> won't let you check this!<br>";
}, false);


<p>Please click on the checkbox control.</p>

  <label for="id-checkbox">Checkbox:</label>
  <input type="checkbox" id="id-checkbox"/>

<div id="output-box"></div>


Stopping keystrokes from reaching an edit field

The following example demonstrates how invalid text input can be stopped from reaching the input field with preventDefault(). Nowadays, you should usually use native HTML form validation instead.


Here's the form:

<div class="container">
  <p>Please enter your name using lowercase letters only.</p>

    <input type="text" id="my-textbox">


We use a little bit of CSS for the warning box we'll draw when the user presses an invalid key:

.warning {
  border: 2px solid #f39389;
  border-radius: 2px;
  padding: 10px;
  position: absolute;
  background-color: #fbd8d4;
  color: #3b3c40;


And here's the JavaScript code that does the job. First, listen for keypress events:

var myTextbox = document.getElementById('my-textbox');
myTextbox.addEventListener('keypress', checkName, false);

The checkName() function, which looks at the pressed key and decides whether to allow it:

function checkName(evt) {
  var charCode = evt.charCode;
  if (charCode != 0) {
    if (charCode < 97 || charCode > 122) {
        "Please use lowercase letters only."
        + "\n" + "charCode: " + charCode + "\n"

The displayWarning() function presents a notification of a problem. It's not an elegant function but does the job for the purposes of this example:

var warningTimeout;
var warningBox = document.createElement("div");
warningBox.className = "warning";

function displayWarning(msg) {
  warningBox.innerHTML = msg;

  if (document.body.contains(warningBox)) {
  } else {
    // insert warningBox after myTextbox
    myTextbox.parentNode.insertBefore(warningBox, myTextbox.nextSibling);

  warningTimeout = window.setTimeout(function() {
      warningTimeout = -1;
    }, 2000);



Calling preventDefault() during any stage of event flow cancels the event, meaning that any default action normally taken by the implementation as a result of the event will not occur.

You can use Event.cancelable to check if the event is cancelable. Calling preventDefault() for a non-cancelable event has no effect.


Specification Status Comment
The definition of 'Event.preventDefault()' in that specification.
Living Standard
Document Object Model (DOM) Level 2 Events Specification
The definition of 'Event.preventDefault()' in that specification.
Obsolete Initial definition.

Browser compatibility

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