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Build an Inline Edit Text Input With React Hooks

Joel Turner
I'm a kombucha lovin' Front-End Dev at Sprinklr. Love lettering, love design, love development, love Portland. Husband, father. He/Him
Originally published at joelmturner.com on ・4 min read

A nice feature in many apps is to edit a title or other text inline without leaving the context that we're in.

Here's what we'll be building.

Let's take a look at the requirements for this component.

  • Must show text when in rest
  • Click on text to edit the text
  • Enter key to save
  • Esc key to exit without saving
  • Click outside to save

Cool, let's start by creating the resting state. We're going to do some basic styling with CSS to help us.

import React from "react";

function InlineEdit(props) {
  return (
    <span className="inline-text_copy inline-text_copy--active">
      {props.text}
      <input className="inline-text_input inline-text_input--rest" />
    </span>
  )
}

export default InlineEdit;
/* these make sure it can work in any text element */
.inline-text_copy--active,
.inline-text_input--active {
  font: inherit;
  color: inherit;
  text-align: inherit;
  padding: 0;
  background: none;
  border: none;
  border-bottom: 1px dashed #666666;
}

.inline-text_copy--active {
  cursor: pointer;
}

.inline-text_copy--hidden,
.inline-text_input--hidden {
  display: none;
}

.inline-text_input--active {
  border-bottom: 1px solid #666666;
  text-align: left;
}
  • [x] Must show text when in rest

This sets us up with a simple text component that displays our text. Now the trickery begins!
We want to click on the text and have the input show up. Let's create some state to track whether we're at rest or active.

import React, {useState} from "react";
{...}
const [isInputActive, setIsInputActive] = useState(false);

Cool, now we have some state to help us display/hide our text and input. We also need some state to track what is being typed in our input. Let's add another useState to hold that text.

const [inputValue, setInputValue] = useState("");

Let's hook this state up to our elements.

function InlineEdit(props) {
  const [isInputActive, setIsInputActive] = useState(false);
  const [inputValue, setInputValue] = useState("");

  return (
    <span className="inline-text">
      <span className={`inline-text_copy inline-text_copy--${!isInputActive ? "active" : "rest"}`}>
        {props.text}
      </span>
      <input
        value={inputValue}
        onChange={(e) => setInputValue(e.target.value)}
        className={`inline-text_input inline-text_input--${isInputActive ? "active" : "rest"}`} />
    </span>
  )
}
  • [x] Click on text to edit the text

Alright, now we need to set up the saving and escaping of the text. We can do this with a useEffect and useKeypress hook that watch for a key click and take an action.

function InlineEdit(props) {
  const [isInputActive, setIsInputActive] = useState(false);
  const [inputValue, setInputValue] = useState(props.text);

  const enter = useKeypress('Enter');
  const esc = useKeypress('Escape');

  useEffect(() => {
    if (isInputActive) {
      // if Enter is pressed, save the text and case the editor
      if (enter) {
        props.onSetText(inputValue);
        setIsInputActive(false);
      }
      // if Escape is pressed, revert the text and close the editor
      if (esc) {
        setInputValue(props.text);
        setIsInputActive(false);
      }
    }
  }, [enter, esc]); // watch the Enter and Escape key presses


  return ({...}
  • [x] Enter key to save
  • [x] Esc key to exit without saving

Next, we'll add a useRef on the wrapping span to help us tell if a click happened outside of the component. We're going to use the useOnClickOutside hook from useHooks.com.

function InlineEdit(props) {
  const [isInputActive, setIsInputActive] = useState(false);
  const [inputValue, setInputValue] = useState(props.text);

  // get the the wrapping span node
  const wrapperRef = useRef(null);

  const enter = useKeypress('Enter');
  const esc = useKeypress('Escape');

  // this hook takes a ref to watch and a function to run
  // if the click happened outside
  useOnClickOutside(wrapperRef, () => {
    if (isInputActive) {
      // save the value and close the editor
      props.onSetText(inputValue);
      setIsInputActive(false);
    }
  });

  useEffect(() => {
    if (isInputActive) {
      // if Enter is pressed, save the text and case the editor
      if (enter) {
        props.onSetText(inputValue);
        setIsInputActive(false);
      }
      // if Escape is pressed, revert the text and close the editor
      if (esc) {
        setInputValue(props.text);
        setIsInputActive(false);
      }
    }
  }, [enter, esc]); // watch the Enter and Escape key presses

  return (
    <span className="inline-text" ref={wrapperRef}>
      {...}
  • [x] Click outside to save

We can help the user by focusing the input when they click on the text. To do this we can add a useRef on the input and a useEffect that watches to see if the input is active.

  const inputRef = useRef(null);

  // focus the cursor in the input field on edit start
  useEffect(() => {
    if (isInputActive) {
      inputRef.current.focus();
    }
  }, [isInputActive]);

  {...}

  <input
    ref={inputRef}
    value={inputValue}
    onChange={(e) => setInputValue(e.target.value)}
    className={`inline-text_input inline-text_input--${isInputActive ? "active" : "rest"}`} />

That was a lot of little parts. Let's put it together to see what we have.

import React, { useState, useEffect, useRef } from "react";
import useKeypress from "../hooks/useKeypress";
import useOnClickOutside from "../hooks/useOnClickOutside";

function InlineEdit(props) {
  const [isInputActive, setIsInputActive] = useState(false);
  const [inputValue, setInputValue] = useState(props.text);

  const wrapperRef = useRef(null);
  const textRef = useRef(null);
  const inputRef = useRef(null);

  const enter = useKeypress("Enter");
  const esc = useKeypress("Escape");

  // check to see if the user clicked outside of this component
  useOnClickOutside(wrapperRef, () => {
    if (isInputActive) {
      props.onSetText(inputValue);
      setIsInputActive(false);
    }
  });

  // focus the cursor in the input field on edit start
  useEffect(() => {
    if (isInputActive) {
      inputRef.current.focus();
    }
  }, [isInputActive]);

  useEffect(() => {
    if (isInputActive) {
      // if Enter is pressed, save the text and case the editor
      if (enter) {
        props.onSetText(inputValue);
        setIsInputActive(false);
      }
      // if Escape is pressed, revert the text and close the editor
      if (esc) {
        setInputValue(props.text);
        setIsInputActive(false);
      }
    }
  }, [enter, esc]); // watch the Enter and Escape key presses

  return (
    <span className="inline-text" ref={wrapperRef}>
      <span
        ref={textRef}
        onClick={() => setIsInputActive(true)}
        className={`inline-text_copy inline-text_copy--${
          !isInputActive ? "active" : "hidden"
        }`}
      >
        {props.text}
      </span>
      <input
        ref={inputRef}
        // set the width to the input length multiplied by the x height
        // it's not quite right but gets it close
        style={{ width: Math.ceil(inputValue.length * 0.9) + "ex" }}
        value={inputValue}
        onChange={e => {
          setInputValue(e.target.value);
        }}
        className={`inline-text_input inline-text_input--${
          isInputActive ? "active" : "hidden"
        }`}
      />
    </span>
  );
}

export default InlineEdit;

It's worth noting that input text may need to be sanitized before being saved. I've had good luck with DOMPurify.

That's it! Go forth and edit!

Discussion (1)

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nodenodenode1 profile image
Shinya

Hi Joel, Thanks for the great post.

Does this work on mobile? As far as I checked, it looks need two clicks. The first click focus on input. Then second click, allows me to input text. No?