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JavaScript removing HTML tags

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Learn how to delete all HTML tags using Vanilla JavaScript. See the example code in the Codepen!

28 Nov, 2020 · 3 min read

I recently needed to remove all HTML tags from text content of my own application to return the clean text.

In this case, it was to share a plain text version for meta descriptions. It can also be used for several other outputs.

SotToday I'll show you how to remove HTML tags in Javascript.

There are two ways of doing this, which are not fully safe if your application accepts user inputs.

Users love to break scripts like this and especially method one can give you some vulnerabilities.

1. JS remove HTML tags with innerHTML

One method is to create a temporary HTML element and get the innerText from it.

const original = `<h1>Welcome to my blog</h1>
<p>Some more content here</p><br /><img alt="a > 2" src="img.jpg" />`;

let removeHTML = (input) => {
  let tmp = document.createElement('div');
  tmp.innerHTML = input;
  return tmp.textContent || tmp.innerText || '';
};
console.log(removeHTML(original));

This will result in the following:

'Welcome to my blog
Some more content here'

As you can see we removed every HTML tag including an image and extracted the text content.

2. JS Remove HTML tags with regex

My personal favourite for my own applications is using a regex match. It's just a cleaner solution and I trust my own inputs to be valid HTML.

How it works:

const original = `<h1>Welcome to my blog</h1>
<p>Some more content here</p><br /><img src="img.jpg" />`;

const regex = original.replace(/<[^>]*>/g, '');
console.log(regex);

This will result in:

'Welcome to my blog
Some more content here'

As you can see, we removed the heading, paragraph, break and image. This is because we escape all HTML brackets with < > format.

It could be breached by something silly like:

const original = `<h1>Welcome to my blog</h1>
<p>Some more content here</p><br /><img alt="a > 2" src="img.jpg" />`;

I know it's not valid HTML anyhow and one should use &gt; for this.

But running this will result in:

'Welcome to my blog
Some more content here 2" src="img.jpg" />'

It's just something to be aware of.

Try the example code on Codepen

You can try out the code of both methods in this Codepen:

See the Pen Exyqbqa by Chris Bongers (@rebelchris) on CodePen.

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