Selecting text in an element (akin to highlighting with your mouse)

Selecting text in an element (akin to highlighting with your mouse)

I would like to have users click a link, then it selects the HTML text in another element (not an input).
By “select” I mean the same way you would select text by dragging your mouse over it. This has been a bear to research because everyone talks about “select” or “highlight” in other terms.
Is this possible? My code so far:
HTML:
Select Code
Some Code here

JS:
function SelectText(element) {
$(“#” + element).select();
}

Am I missing something blatantly obvious?

Solutions/Answers:

Solution 1:

Plain Javascript

function selectText(node) {
    node = document.getElementById(node);

    if (document.body.createTextRange) {
        const range = document.body.createTextRange();
        range.moveToElementText(node);
        range.select();
    } else if (window.getSelection) {
        const selection = window.getSelection();
        const range = document.createRange();
        range.selectNodeContents(node);
        selection.removeAllRanges();
        selection.addRange(range);
    } else {
        console.warn("Could not select text in node: Unsupported browser.");
    }
}

const clickable = document.querySelector('.click-me');
clickable.addEventListener('click', () => selectText('target'));
<div id="target"><p>Some text goes here!</p><p>Moar text!</p></div>
<p class="click-me">Click me!</p>

Here is a working demo. For those of you looking for a jQuery plugin, I made one of those too.


jQuery (original answer)

I have found a solution for this in this thread. I was able to modify the info given and mix it with a bit of jQuery to create a totally awesome function to select the text in any element, regardless of browser:

function SelectText(element) {
    var text = document.getElementById(element);
    if ($.browser.msie) {
        var range = document.body.createTextRange();
        range.moveToElementText(text);
        range.select();
    } else if ($.browser.mozilla || $.browser.opera) {
        var selection = window.getSelection();
        var range = document.createRange();
        range.selectNodeContents(text);
        selection.removeAllRanges();
        selection.addRange(range);
    } else if ($.browser.safari) {
        var selection = window.getSelection();
        selection.setBaseAndExtent(text, 0, text, 1);
    }
}

Solution 2:

Here’s a version with no browser sniffing and no reliance on jQuery:

function selectElementText(el, win) {
    win = win || window;
    var doc = win.document, sel, range;
    if (win.getSelection && doc.createRange) {
        sel = win.getSelection();
        range = doc.createRange();
        range.selectNodeContents(el);
        sel.removeAllRanges();
        sel.addRange(range);
    } else if (doc.body.createTextRange) {
        range = doc.body.createTextRange();
        range.moveToElementText(el);
        range.select();
    }
}

selectElementText(document.getElementById("someElement"));
selectElementText(elementInIframe, iframe.contentWindow);

Solution 3:

Jason’s code can not be used for elements inside an iframe (as the scope differs from window and document). I fixed that problem and I modified it in order to be used as any other jQuery plugin (chainable):

Example 1: Selection of all text inside < code > tags with single click and add class “selected”:

$(function() {
    $("code").click(function() {
        $(this).selText().addClass("selected");
    });
});

Example 2: On button click, select an element inside an Iframe:

$(function() {
    $("button").click(function() {
        $("iframe").contents().find("#selectme").selText();
    });
});

Note: remember that the iframe source should reside in the same domain to prevent security errors.

jQuery Plugin:

jQuery.fn.selText = function() {
    var obj = this[0];
    if ($.browser.msie) {
        var range = obj.offsetParent.createTextRange();
        range.moveToElementText(obj);
        range.select();
    } else if ($.browser.mozilla || $.browser.opera) {
        var selection = obj.ownerDocument.defaultView.getSelection();
        var range = obj.ownerDocument.createRange();
        range.selectNodeContents(obj);
        selection.removeAllRanges();
        selection.addRange(range);
    } else if ($.browser.safari) {
        var selection = obj.ownerDocument.defaultView.getSelection();
        selection.setBaseAndExtent(obj, 0, obj, 1);
    }
    return this;
}

I tested it in IE8, Firefox, Opera, Safari, Chrome (current versions). I’m not sure if it works in older IE versions (sincerely I don’t care).

Solution 4:

This thread contains really wonderful stuff. But I’m not able to do it right on this page using FF 3.5b99 + FireBug due to “Security Error”.

Yipee!! I was able to select whole right hand sidebar with this code hope it helps you:

    var r = document.createRange();
    var w=document.getElementById("sidebar");  
    r.selectNodeContents(w);  
    var sel=window.getSelection(); 
    sel.removeAllRanges(); 
    sel.addRange(r); 

PS:- I was not able to use objects returned by jquery selectors like

   var w=$("div.welovestackoverflow",$("div.sidebar"));

   //this throws **security exception**

   r.selectNodeContents(w);

Solution 5:

I was searching for the same thing, my solution was this:

$('#el-id').focus().select();

Solution 6:

You can use the following function to select content of any element:

jQuery.fn.selectText = function(){
    this.find('input').each(function() {
        if($(this).prev().length == 0 || !$(this).prev().hasClass('p_copy')) { 
            $('<p class="p_copy" style="position: absolute; z-index: -1;"></p>').insertBefore($(this));
        }
        $(this).prev().html($(this).val());
    });
    var doc = document;
    var element = this[0];
    console.log(this, element);
    if (doc.body.createTextRange) {
        var range = document.body.createTextRange();
        range.moveToElementText(element);
        range.select();
    } else if (window.getSelection) {
        var selection = window.getSelection();        
        var range = document.createRange();
        range.selectNodeContents(element);
        selection.removeAllRanges();
        selection.addRange(range);
    }
};

This function can be called as follows:

$('#selectme').selectText();