The difference between the Node.textContent and Element.innerText properties in vanilla JS

Vanilla JS exposes two properties you can use to get and set text on an element: Node.textContent and Element.innerText.
At first glance, they appear to do the same exact thing, but there are a few subtle but important differences between them. Today, we’re going to look at what they do, how they’re the same, and how they’re different.
Let’s dig in.
How they’re the same Let’s say you have an element like this.

Vanilla JS exposes two properties you can use to get and set text on an element: Node.textContent and Element.innerText.

At first glance, they appear to do the same exact thing, but there are a few subtle but important differences between them. Today, we’re going to look at what they do, how they’re the same, and how they’re different.

Let’s dig in.

How they’re the same

Let’s say you have an element like this.

<p id="sandwich">I love a good tuna sandwich!</p>

Both the Node.textContent and Element.innerText properties can be used to get the text from the #sandwich element.

let sandwich = document.querySelector('#sandwich');

// returns "I love a good tuna sandwich!"
let text1 = sandwich.textContent;

// also returns "I love a good tuna sandwich!"
let text2 = sandwich.innerText;

Here’s a demo.

If there’s markup inside the element, both properties also ignore it.

<p id="sandwich">I love a good <strong>tuna</strong> sandwich!</p>
// returns "I love a good tuna sandwich!"
let textHTML1 = sandwich.textContent;

// also returns "I love a good tuna sandwich!"
let textHTML2 = sandwich.innerText;

Here’s another demo.

And both properties can be used to set text inside an element as well.

// Replace the text in an element
// <p id="sandwich">Hello, world!</p>
sandwich.textContent = 'Hello, world!';

// You can also append with +=
// <p id="sandwich">Hello, world! And hi, Universe!</p>
sandwich.innerText += ' And hi, Universe!';

Here’s yet another demo.

How they’re different

So, they appear to do exactly the same thing. What’s different about them?

The Node.textContent property gets all of the text content, including content inside elements that are not visually rendered on the page. The Element.innerText property returns only rendered text, similar to what a user would be able to select with their cursor or the keyboard when highlighting text.

<div class="greeting">
	<style type="text/css">
		p {
			color: rebeccapurple;
		}
	</style>
	<p hidden>This is not rendered.</p>
	<p>Hello world!</p>
</div>
let greeting = document.querySelector('.greeting');

// Get text content
// returns "p {color: rebeccapurple;} This is not rendered. Hello world!"
let text1 = greeting.textContent;

// Get text content
// returns "Hello world!"
let text2 = greeting.innerText;

Here’s one last demo for you.


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