onselect (HTML attribute)

Depr. Version
Browser support (more…)
IE5.5+ FF1+ SA1.3+ OP9.2+
Full Full Full Full




The onselect attribute is used in forms, specifically on the text input and textarea form controls. When the user selects any text inside these elements, either by clicking and dragging the cursor, or using keyboard text selection commands (such as pressing Shift + Right arrow key), the onselect attribute captures this event.


This attribute might be used when the users have submitted a form and are presented with something that they then need to copy in order to use—for example, some code to paste into their web page. The form control (input or textarea) could use the onselect attribute to trigger some kind of JavaScript function that would automatically copy the text and notify the user that it was saved to the clipboard, ready for them to paste:

<textarea rows="10" name="generatedCode"
    onselect="copyToClipBoard();">Text content inside the


This attribute has no fixed value. It’s up to the author to decide on the scripting that’s included here, be that a call to one or more defined functions, or a simple alert() statement.


Internet Explorer Firefox Safari Opera
5.5 6.0 7.0 1.0 1.5 2.0 1.3 2.0 3.0 9.2 9.5
Full Full Full Full Full Full Full Full Full Full Full

Every browser listed supports this attribute. However, inline event handlers such as this should be avoided. In the same way that inline CSS styles are frowned upon but externally defined CSS styles are considered good practice, inline event handlers should be stripped out and replaced with events attached unobtrusively through the DOM.

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