Replacing text on-the-fly in contenteditable with pure jQuery

I have seen a few questions about this on StackOverflow, but it seems hard to find a jQuery-based solution. Hence, I would like to ask this question.

I would like to replace text on-the-fly inside a div with the attribute contenteditable="true".

I'm looking for a jQuery-based solution that will do the following:

  • Automatically replace written text on-the-fly (as you type)
  • Being able to continue writing (whilst the replacement is being done)

I looked at SC Editor (, it seems like it does exactly that (for instance, if you try type :) it gets replaced by an emoticon.

I think a good start would be an array with all the elements to replace:

$.settings = {
    path: '',
    emoticons: {
        ':(' : 'stupid.jpg',
        ':)' : 'smart.jpg',

I have been unable to find good examples of this. Would be happy if somebody can share their thoughts and any code regarding this.

How would the replacement get done in the best possible way, with the above code?

I found this. If you adjust it, it might suit your needs. It replaces { with {} and ( with () and the cursor ends up in the middle.

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

                    var charTyped = String.fromCharCode(e.which);
                    if (charTyped == "{" || charTyped == "(") {
                        // Handle this case ourselves

                        var sel = window.getSelection();
                        if (sel.rangeCount > 0) {
                            // First, delete the existing selection
                            var range = sel.getRangeAt(0);

                            // Insert a text node with the braces/parens
                            var text = (charTyped == ")") ? "{}" : "()";
                            var textNode = document.createTextNode(text);

                            // Move the selection to the middle of the text node
                            range.setStart(textNode, 1);
                            range.setEnd(textNode, 1);


    <div id="d" contentEditable="true">....</div>

Getting plain text from user input on a contenteditable element, Getting plain text from user input on a contenteditable element box to be content aware and adapt its size dynamically (both width and height). So, replacing all the event handlers with a single MutationObserver allowed  Replace Div Content On The Fly With New Content. This is a tutorial for replacing the content in a div on-the-fly, without reloading the web page. It comes with several examples. Possible applications are: A constantly updated clock or countdown timer. Rotating ads - if one isn't clicked on within a minute, present a different one.

    //make here for loop which replace all emoticons
    $(this).text().replace(':(', 'stupid.jpg');

Making content editable, <div contenteditable="true"> This text can be edited by the user. provides a defaultParagraphSeparator command to allow you to change it. One very useful ability provided by JavaScript is the ability to replace the content of elements in an existing HTML document that was previously displayed, even empty elements. There are many reasons that a web designer may choose to take advantage of this ability but providing interactive pages is a likely goal.

Posting what I eventually wrote after failing to find an answer to this question. I hope that it will be helpful to someone else who comes to this question looking for an answer (:

I'm going to post a much more general find and replace solution (contained in a class). This is for content editable divs and works while the user is typing, additionally it does not affect the caret position. This implementation uses a case insensitive search (although it would be trivial to disable this in the code). Another advantage this has is that it will work even if you are typing in the middle of a paragraph (not just at the end of the line) and will work on pasted text. Give it a go!

class FindAndReplace {

	constructor($contentEditable, findAndReplaceData) {

		var self = this;

		$contentEditable.on('input blur', function () {

			var textNodes = self.getTextNodes($contentEditable);

			textNodes.each(function (i) {

				// Perform all replacements on text
				findAndReplaceData.forEach(function (findAndReplaceDatum) {

					var find = findAndReplaceDatum.find;
					var replace = findAndReplaceDatum.replace;

					var regexEscapedFind = self.escapeRegExp(find);
					var regexEscapedReplace = self.escapeRegExp(replace);

					var regexEscapedCaseInsensitiveFind = self.makeRegexCaseInsensitive(regexEscapedFind);

					// Case insensitive search for the find with a negative lookahead to check its not a case sensitive match of the replacement (aka to check its actually going to make a difference)
					var regexString = `(?!${regexEscapedReplace})${regexEscapedCaseInsensitiveFind}`;

					do {

						// Get the latest version of the text node
						textNode = self.getTextNodes($contentEditable)[i];
						var text =;

						var regex = new RegExp(regexString);
						var matchIndex =;
						var matchFound = (matchIndex !== -1);

						if (matchFound) {

							// Select the match
							var range = document.createRange();
							range.setStart(textNode, matchIndex);
							range.setEnd(textNode, matchIndex + find.length);
							// Delete it

							// Create the replacement node
							var textNode = document.createTextNode(replace);
							// Insert it

							// Set the range to the end of the selected node
							// Set the user selection the range
							var sel = window.getSelection();

							// Make sure there a no adjacent or empty text nodes


					} while (matchFound)





	escapeRegExp(string) {

		return string.replace(/[.*+?^${}()|[\]\\]/g, '\\$&'); // $& means the whole matched string


	getTextNodes($contentEditable) {
		return $contentEditable.contents().filter(function () {
			return this.nodeType == 3; // Text node


	makeRegexCaseInsensitive(string) {

		var stringArray = string.split('');

		stringArray = (char) {

			if (char.toLowerCase() !== char.toUpperCase())
				return '[' + char.toLowerCase() + char.toUpperCase() + ']';
				return char;


		return stringArray.join('');


div {
  border: 1px solid black;
<script src=""></script>



  var findAndReplaceData = [
      'find': 'find me',
      'replace': 'and replace with me!'
      'find': 'foo',
      'replace': 'bar'
      'find': 'no',
      'replace': 'yes'

  $contentEditable = $('div');

  new FindAndReplace($contentEditable,findAndReplaceData);



<div contenteditable="true"></div>

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