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Fatemeh Paghar
Fatemeh Paghar

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Get and Set the Scroll Position of an Element with React Hook

In React, you can set and get the scroll position of an element using the scrollTop property for vertical scrolling and the scrollLeft property for horizontal scrolling.


  • scrollTop is a property of an element representing the distance in pixels between the top of the element's content and its topmost visible content.
  • When you scroll down, the value of scrollTop increases; when you scroll up, the value decreases.
  • It's commonly used with overflowed content elements, such as <div> elements with a fixed height and overflow: auto or overflow: scroll CSS properties.


  • scrollLeft is similar to scrollTop, but it controls the horizontal scrolling behavior of an element instead of the vertical scrolling.
  • It represents the distance in pixels between the left edge of the element's content and its leftmost visible content.
  • It's commonly used with horizontally scrollable elements, such as tables or divs with large content widths.
import React, { useState, useRef } from 'react';

function ScrollComponent() {
  const [scrollPosition, setScrollPosition] = useState({ scrollTop: 0, scrollLeft: 0 });
  const scrollDemoRef = useRef(null);

  const handleScroll = () => {
    if (scrollDemoRef.current) {
      const { scrollTop, scrollLeft } = scrollDemoRef.current;
      setScrollPosition({ scrollTop, scrollLeft });

  return (
          height: '200px',
          width: '200px',
          overflow: 'auto',
          backgroundColor: '#f0db4f',
          padding: '10px' // Added padding to make scroll visible
        <p style={{ height: '300px', width: '300px' }}>JavaScript scrollLeft / scrollTop</p>
      <div className="output">
        scrollTop: {scrollPosition.scrollTop} <br />
        scrollLeft: {scrollPosition.scrollLeft}

export default ScrollComponent;

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  • use the useState hook to manage the scroll position state.
  • create a ref (scrollDemoRef) to reference the scrollable div.
  • handle the scroll event using the onScroll attribute of the div.
  • Inside the handleScroll function, we update the scroll position state (scrollTop and scrollLeft) based on the current scroll values of the div.

scrollTop and scrollLeft are essential properties in web development for controlling the vertical and horizontal scroll positions of elements, respectively. They are particularly useful for managing scrolling behaviors in React applications. However, there are several challenges to consider when working with these properties.

One challenge is cross-browser compatibility. While most modern browsers support scrollTop and scrollLeft, slight differences in behavior or implementation may exist across different browsers, especially in older versions. Therefore, it's essential to test your application thoroughly across various browsers to ensure consistent behavior.

Another challenge arises when dealing with dynamic content within scrollable elements. If the content inside the scrollable element changes dynamically, such as through AJAX requests or user interactions, you may need to recalculate the scroll position accordingly to maintain the desired scroll behavior. This often involves storing the previous scroll position and updating it appropriately when the content changes.

In the case of scrollLeft, it's essential to be mindful of RTL (Right-to-Left) layouts, common in languages like Arabic or Hebrew. In RTL layouts, the direction of horizontal scrolling is reversed, which may affect the behavior of scrollLeft. Adjustments may be necessary to ensure consistent scrolling behavior across different language settings.

Moreover, when dealing with nested scrollable elements or elements within fixed-positioned or transformed parents, the behavior of scrollLeft and scrollTop may not always align with expectations. Careful consideration and adjustments to coordinates or positioning may be required to ensure the desired scrolling behavior.

Finally, in scenarios where both vertical and horizontal scrolling are present, such as grids or maps, synchronizing the scrolling behavior between the two axes can be challenging. You may need to listen for scroll events on both axes and adjust the scrollLeft and scrollTop properties accordingly to maintain synchronization.

In summary, scrollLeft and scrollTop properties in web development control horizontal and vertical scroll positions of elements, respectively. Navigating their intricacies, including cross-browser compatibility, dynamic content management, and event optimization, is crucial for ensuring seamless scrolling experiences in React applications.


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