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Tag-it: a jQuery UI plugin

IMPORTANT: tag-it is unmaintained.

Tag-it has reached end-of-life, and we're not looking to update or maintain it. This library should still work, but there are many PRs open and forks that you might want to consider before using it.

As a tag-it replacement, we currently recommend tagify, which appears to be a popular library that is still being actively developed as of late 2023.

Thank you!

Tag-it is a simple and configurable tag editing widget with autocomplete support.




Check the examples.html for several demos and the prototype.js file for a JavaScript prototype with all options and events.


First, load jQuery (v1.4 or greater), jQuery UI (v1.8 or greater), and the plugin:

<script src="" type="text/javascript" charset="utf-8"></script>
<script src="" type="text/javascript" charset="utf-8"></script>
<script src="js/tag-it.js" type="text/javascript" charset="utf-8"></script>

If you're using a custom jQuery UI build, it must contain the Core, Widget, Position, and Autocomplete components. The Effects Core with "Blind" and "Highlight" Effect components are optional, but used if available.

The plugin requires either a jQuery UI theme or a Tag-it theme to be present, as well as its own included base CSS file (jquery.tagit.css). Here we use the Flick theme as an example:

<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="">
<link href="css/jquery.tagit.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css">

Now, let's attach it to an existing <ul> box:

<script type="text/javascript">
    $(document).ready(function() {

<ul id="myTags">
    <!-- Existing list items will be pre-added to the tags -->

This will turn the list into a tag-it widget. There are several other possible configurations and ways to instantiate the widget, including one that uses a single comma-delimited input field rather than one per tag, so see the Options documentation below as well as the examples page (and its source) which demonstrates most of them, as well as the Tag-it Zendesk theme used in the screenshot above.


Tag-it is as easily themeable as any jQuery UI widget, using your own theme made with Themeroller, or one of the jQuery UI premade themes. The old ZenDesk-like theme is included as an optional CSS file (tagit.ui-zendesk.css).


Tag-it accepts several options to customize its behaviour:

fieldName (String)

Each tag's hidden input field will have this name. If you're using PHP, you may want to use something like itemName[fieldName][] for this option's value.

    fieldName: "skills"

Defaults to tags.

availableTags (Array)

Used as source for the autocompletion, unless autocomplete.source is overridden.

    availableTags: ["c++", "java", "php", "javascript", "ruby", "python", "c"]

If you define your own autocomplete.source, this option is unused (unless you choose to reference it yourself from your custom autocomplete.source of course.)

Defaults to an empty array [].

autocomplete (Object)

Allows overriding the source and select options that are set by default, as well as adding any other options you want to pass to the jQuery UI Autocomplete widget, such as minLength or delay.

The autocomplete.source should be overridden if you want to use custom autocompletion sources, like an Ajax / XHR response.

For example:

    autocomplete: {delay: 0, minLength: 2}

The default autocomplete.source function filters the strings in availableTags and subtracts the already assigned tags. It also positions autocomplete underneath tag input. See the full list of available options here.

showAutocompleteOnFocus (boolean)

Shows autocomplete when the tag input first receives focus, before the user even types anything.

If enabled, this will also make autocomplete.minLength default to 0 unless you override that, so that autocomplete can show up with a blank search.

Defaults to false.

removeConfirmation (boolean)

When removeConfirmation is enabled the user has to press the backspace key twice to remove the last tag. After the first keypress the last tag receives a remove css class which can be used to visually highlight the tag.

Defaults to false.

caseSensitive (boolean)

whether the duplication check should do a case sensitive check or not.

Defaults to true.

allowDuplicates (boolean)

Allows duplicate tags to be created. One implication of this is that removeTagByLabel will remove all tags which match the given label.

Defaults to false.

allowSpaces (boolean)

When allowSpaces is enabled the user is not required to wrap multi-word tags in quotation marks. For example, the user can enter John Smith instead of "John Smith".

Defaults to false.

readOnly (boolean)

When enabled, tag-it just render tags. It disables the ability to edit tags.

Defaults to false.

tagLimit (integer)

Limits the total number of tags that can be entered at once. Note that if you use this option with preloaded data, it may truncate the number of preloaded tags. Set to null for unlimited tags. See the onTagLimitExceeded callback for customizing this behavior.

Defaults to null.

singleField (boolean)

When enabled, will use a single hidden field for the form, rather than one per tag. It will delimit tags in the field with singleFieldDelimiter.

Defaults to false, unless Tag-it was created on an input element, in which case singleField will be overridden as true.

singleFieldDelimiter (String)

Defaults to ","

singleFieldNode (DomNode)

Set this to an input DOM node to use an existing form field. Any text in it will be erased on init. But it will be populated with the text of tags as they are created, delimited by singleFieldDelimiter. If this is not set, we create an input node for it, with the name given in fieldName.

Defaults to null, unless Tag-it was created on an input element, in which case singleFieldNode will be overridden with that element.

tabIndex (integer)

Optionally set a tabindex attribute on the input that gets created for tag-it user input.

Defaults to null

placeholderText (String)

Optionally set a placeholder attribute on the input that gets created for tag-it user input.

Defaults to null


beforeTagAdded (function, Callback)

Can be used to add custom behaviour before the tag is added to the DOM.

The function receives a null event, and an object containing the properties tag, tagLabel, and duringInitialization.

duringInitialization is a boolean indicating whether the tag was added during the initial construction of this widget, e.g. when initializing tag-it on an input with preloaded data. You can use this to tell whether the event was initiated by the user or by the widget's initialization.

To cancel a tag from being added, simply return false in your event callback to bail out from adding the tag and stop propagation of the event.

    beforeTagAdded: function(event, ui) {
        // do something special

afterTagAdded (function, Callback)

Behaves the same as beforeTagAdded except that it fires after the tag has been added to the DOM. It too receives the duringInitialization parameter — see beforeTagAdded for details.

beforeTagRemoved (function, Callback)

Can be used to add custom behaviour before the tag is removed from the DOM.

To cancel a tag from being removed, simply return false in your event callback to bail out from removing the tag and stop propagation of the event.

The function receives a null event, and an object with tag and tagLabel properties.

    beforeTagRemoved: function(event, ui) {
        // do something special

afterTagRemoved (function, Callback)

Behaves the same as beforeTagRemoved except that it fires after the tag has been removed from the DOM.

onTagExists (function, Callback)

Triggered when attempting to add a tag that has already been added in the widget. The callback receives a null event, and an object containing the properties existingTag and duringInitialization, since technically you could try to preload duplicate tags during the widget initialization.

If the allowDuplicates option is enabled, this will not be triggered.

By default it will visually highlight the existing tag, unless you return false in your callback.

onTagClicked (function, Callback)

Can be used to add custom behaviour when the tag is clicked. The function receives the click event and an objecting containing tag and tagLabel properties.

    onTagClicked: function(event, ui) {
        // do something special

onTagLimitExceeded (function, Callback)

Called when attempting to create a tag while the tag limit has already been reached. Receives a null event, and an object with the property duringInitialization. This can only be called if tagLimit is set.



Returns an array of the text values of all the tags currently in the widget.


createTag(tagLabel, additionalClass)

Adds new tag to the list. The additionalClass parameter is an optional way to add classes to the tag element.

$("#myTags").tagit("createTag", "brand-new-tag");

preprocessTag(function, Callback)

Set a function to be called before tag is created. Callback receives the value of the tag created.

// ensure all tags are capitalized
$(#tag-it").tagit("preprocessTag", function(val) {
  if (!val) { return ''; }
  return val[0].toUpperCase() + val.slice(1, val.length);
// foo -> Foo

removeTagByLabel(tagLabel, animate)

Finds the tag with the label tagLabel and removes it. If no such tag is found, it'll throw an exception.

$("#myTags").tagit("removeTagByLabel", "my-tag");


Clears the widget of all tags — removes each tag it contains, so the beforeTagRemoved / afterTagRemoved event callbacks (if set) will be called for each.




The <input> field which is used for entering new tags. It's a jQuery object, so you may use it to add a class or anything to it, e.g.:




tag-it is released under the MIT license.