📝 React component implements configurable GitHub's like textarea autocomplete.
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style.css feat(dropdown): added new prop "movePopupAsYouType"; default caretPos… Mar 5, 2018
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react-textarea-autocomplete 📝

Enhanced textarea to achieve autocomplete functionality.

MIT License PRs Welcome All Contributors npm

This package provides React Component to achieve GitHub's like functionality in comments regarding the textarea autocomplete. It can be used for example for emoji autocomplete or for @mentions. The render function (for displaying text enhanced by this textarea) is beyond the scope of this package and it should be solved separately.


This module is distributed via npm and should be installed as one of your project's dependencies:

yarn add @webscopeio/react-textarea-autocomplete

or there is UMD build available. Check out this pen as example.

This package also depends on react and prop-types. Please make sure you have those installed as well.


☝️ Note: Every other props than the mentioned below will be propagated to the textarea itself

Props Type Description
trigger* Object: Trigger type Define triggers and their corresponding behavior
loadingComponent* React Component Gets data props which is already fetched (and displayed) suggestion
innerRef Function: (HTMLTextAreaElement) => void) Allows you to get React ref of the underlying textarea
scrollToItem boolean | (container: HTMLDivElement, item: HTMLDivElement) => void) Defaults to true. With default implementation it will scroll the dropdown every time when the item gets out of the view.
minChar Number Number of characters that user should type for trigger a suggestion. Defaults to 1.
onCaretPositionChange Function: (number) => void Listener called every time the textarea's caret position is changed. The listener is called with one attribute - caret position denoted by an integer number.
closeOnClickOutside boolean When it's true autocomplete will close when use click outside. Defaults to false.
movePopupAsYouType boolean When it's true the textarea will move along with a caret as a user continues to type. Defaults to false.
style Style Object Style's of textarea
listStyle Style Object Styles of list's wrapper
itemStyle Style Object Styles of item's wrapper
loaderStyle Style Object Styles of loader's wrapper
containerStyle Style Object Styles of textarea's container
dropdownStyle Style Object Styles of dropdown's wrapper
className string ClassNames of the textarea
containerClassName string ClassNames of the textarea's container
listClassName string ClassNames of list's wrapper
itemClassName string ClassNames of item's wrapper
loaderClassName string ClassNames of loader's wrapper
dropdownClassName string ClassNames of dropdown's wrapper

*are mandatory


The methods below can be called on the React component's ref (see: React Docs)

Methods Description
getCaretPosition() : number Gets the current caret position in the textarea
setCaretPosition(position : number) : void Sets the caret position to the integer value passed as the argument
getSelectionPosition(): {selectionStart: number, selectionEnd: number} Returns selectionStart and selectionEnd of the textarea
getSelectedText(): ?string Returns currently selected word


import React, { Component } from "react";
import ReactTextareaAutocomplete from "@webscopeio/react-textarea-autocomplete";

class App extends Component {
  onCaretPositionChange = (position) => {
    console.log(`Caret position is equal to ${position}`);

  resetCaretPosition = () => {

  printCurrentCaretPosition = () => {
    const caretPosition = this.rta.getCaretPosition();
    console.log(`Caret position is equal to ${caretPosition}`);

  render() {
    return (
      <div className="app">
        <div className="controls">
            <button onClick={this.resetCaretPosition}>Reset caret position</button>
            <button onClick={this.printCurrentCaretPosition}>Print current caret position to the console</button>
          loadingComponent={() => <span>Loading</span>}
          trigger={{ ... }}
          ref={(rta) => { this.rta = rta; } }

export default App;

Trigger type

    [triggerChar: string]: {|
      output?: (
        item: Object | string,
        trigger?: string
      ) =>
        | {|
            key?: ?string,
            text: string,
            caretPosition: "start" | "end" | "next" | number
        | string,
      dataProvider: (
        token: string
      ) => Promise<Array<Object | string>> | Array<Object | string>,
      allowWhitespace?: boolean,
      afterWhitespace?: boolean,
      component: ReactClass<*>
  • dataProvider is called after each keystroke to get data what the suggestion list should display (array or promise resolving array)

  • component is the component for render the item in suggestion list. It has selected and entity props provided by React Textarea Autocomplete

  • allowWhitespace (Optional; defaults to false) Set this to true if you want to provide autocomplete for words (tokens) containing whitespace

  • afterWhitespace (Optional; defaults to false) Show autocomplete only if it's preceded by whitespace. Cannot be combined with allowWhitespace

  • output (Optional for string based item. If the item is an object this method is required) This function defines text which will be placed into textarea after the user makes a selection.

    You can also specify the behavior of caret if you return object {text: "item", caretPosition: "start"} the caret will be before the word once the user confirms his selection. Other possible value are "next", "end" and number, which is absolute number in contex of textarea (0 is equal position before the first char). Defaults to "next" which is space after the injected word.

    The default behavior for string based item is a string: <TRIGGER><ITEM><TRIGGER>). This method should always return a unique string, otherwise, you have to use object notation and specify your own key or return object from dataProvider with key property.

Example of usage

create-react-app example && cd example && yarn add @jukben/emoji-search @webscopeio/react-textarea-autocomplete

There is also UMD build available, check this CodePen for a proof.💪


import React, { Component } from "react";
import ReactTextareaAutocomplete from "@webscopeio/react-textarea-autocomplete";
import emoji from "@jukben/emoji-search";

import logo from "./logo.svg";
import "./App.css";
import "@webscopeio/react-textarea-autocomplete/style.css";

const Item = ({ entity: { name, char } }) => <div>{`${name}: ${char}`}</div>;
const Loading = ({ data }) => <div>Loading</div>;

class App extends Component {
  render() {
    return (
      <div className="App">
        <div className="App-header">
          <img src={logo} className="App-logo" alt="logo" />
          <h2>Welcome to React</h2>

            fontSize: "18px",
            lineHeight: "20px",
            padding: 5
          ref={(rta) => { this.rta = rta; } }
          innerRef={(textarea) => { this.textarea = textarea; } }
            marginTop: 20,
            width: 400,
            height: 100,
            margin: "20px auto"
            ":": {
              dataProvider: token => {
                return emoji(token)
                  .slice(0, 10)
                  .map(({ name, char }) => ({ name, char }));
              component: Item,
              output: (item, trigger) => item.char

export default App;


Run yarn to fetch dependencies.

Run yarn lint check ESlint check (yarn lint:fix for quick fix)

Run yarn flow for flow check

Run yarn test to run unit-tests powered by Jest

Dev playground (recommended)

Run yarn dev and open http://localhost:8080 for the playground

Run yarn cypress:open for open Cypress for E2E testing

Build and link

Run yarn build and yarn link then in your project folder (you have to use the same version of React e.g 15.6.1) yarn link react-textarea-autocomplete to link together.

Your PR's are welcomed! ❤️



Jakub Beneš

Currently, I'm the only maintainer of this project. All related work I'm doing for is in my free time. If you like what I'm doing consider buy me a ☕. I'd appreciated! ❤️

Buy Me A Coffee

Also, I'd love to thank these wonderful people for their contribution (emoji key). You rock! 💪

Jakub Beneš

💻 📖 🎨 🤔

Andrey Taktaev


Marcin Lichwała

💻 📖

Davidson Nascimento



🐛 💻

Ján Vorčák

🐛 💻

Mateusz Burzyński

💻 📦

Deepak Pai

🐛 💻

Aleck Landgraf


Serguei Okladnikov

🐛 💻

Michal Zochowski

🐛 💻

Igor Sachivka

🐛 💻

Andrew Shini

🐛 💻

This project follows the all-contributors specification. Contributions of any kind welcome!