Holder renders image placeholders entirely on the client side.
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Holder uses the canvas element and the data URI scheme to render image placeholders entirely in browser.

How to use it

Include holder.js in your HTML:

<script src="holder.js"></script>

Holder will then process all images with a specific src attribute, like this one:

<img src="holder.js/200x300">

The above tag will render as a placeholder 200 pixels wide and 300 pixels tall.

To avoid console 404 errors, you can use data-src instead of src.

Holder also includes support for themes, to help placeholders blend in with your layout. There are 3 default themes: gray, industrial, and social. You can use them like this:

<img src="holder.js/200x300/industrial">

Customizing themes

Themes have 3 properties: foreground, background, and size. The size property specifies the minimum font size for the theme. You can create a sample theme like this:

Holder.add_theme("dark", {background:"#000", foreground:"#aaa", size:11})

Using custom themes

There are two ways to use custom themes with Holder:

  • Include theme at runtime to render placeholders already using the theme name
  • Include theme at any point and re-render placeholders that are using the theme name

The first approach is the easiest. After you include holder.js, add a script tag that adds the theme you want:

<script src="holder.js"></script>
<script> Holder.add_theme("bright", { background: "white", foreground: "gray", size: 12 })</script>

The second approach requires that you call run after you add the theme, like this:

Holder.add_theme("bright", { background: "white", foreground: "gray", size: 12}).run()

Using custom themes and domain on specific images

You can use Holder in different areas on different images with custom themes:

<img data-src="example.com/100x100/simple" id="new">
    domain: "example.com",
    themes: {
    images: "#new"

Using custom colors on specific images

Custom colors on a specific image can be specified in the background:foreground format using hex notation, like this:

<img data-src="holder.js/100x200/#000:#fff">

The above will render a placeholder with a black background and white text.

Specifying custom text on specific images

<img data-src="holder.js/200x200/text:hello world">

Specifying custom text for a theme

If you have a group of placeholders where you'd like to use a particular caption, you can do so by adding a text property to the theme:

Holder.add_theme("thumbnail", { background: "#fff", text: "Thumbnail" })

Customizing only the settings you need

Holder extends its default settings with the settings you provide, so you only have to include those settings you want changed. For example, you can run Holder on a specific domain like this:


Using custom settings on load

You can prevent Holder from running its default configuration by executing Holder.run with your custom settings right after including holder.js. However, you'll have to execute Holder.run again to render any placeholders that use the default configuration.

Inserting an image with optional custom theme

You can add a placeholder programmatically by chaining Holder calls:

Holder.add_theme("new",{foreground:"#ccc", background:"#000", size:10}).add_image("holder.js/200x100/new", "body").run()

The first argument in add_image is the src attribute, and the second is a CSS selector of the parent element.

Browser support

  • Chrome 1+
  • Firefox 3+
  • Safari 4+
  • Internet Explorer 9+, with fallback for IE6-8
  • Android 1+


Holder is provided under the Apache 2.0 License. Commercial use requires attribution.


Holder is a project by Ivan Malopinsky.