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Because I had so much trouble finding a good auto-linking implementation out in the wild, I decided to roll my own. It seemed that everything I found out there was either an implementation that didn't cover every case, or was just limited in one way or another.

So, this utility attempts to handle everything. It:

  • Autolinks URLs, whether or not they start with the protocol (i.e. 'http://'). In other words, it will automatically link the text "", as well as "".
  • Will properly handle URLs with special characters
  • Will properly handle URLs with query parameters or a named anchor (i.e. hash)
  • Will autolink email addresses.
  • Will autolink phone numbers.
  • Will autolink mentions (Twitter, Instagram).
  • Will autolink hashtags.
  • Will properly handle HTML input. The utility will not change the href attribute inside anchor (<a>) tags (or any other tag/attribute), and will not accidentally wrap the inner text of an anchor tag with a new one (which would cause doubly-nested anchor tags).

Hope that this utility helps you as well!

Full API Docs:
Live Example:

v1.0 released. Breaking Changes from 0.x -> 1.x

  1. twitter option removed, replaced with mention (which accepts 'twitter' and 'instagram' values)
  2. Matching mentions (previously the twitter option) now defaults to being turned off. Previously, Twitter handle matching was on by default.
  3. replaceFn option now called with just one argument: the Match object (previously was called with two arguments: autolinker and match)
  4. (Used inside the replaceFn) TwitterMatch replaced with MentionMatch, and MentionMatch.getType() now returns 'mention' instead of 'twitter'
  5. (Used inside the replaceFn) TwitterMatch.getTwitterHandle() -> MentionMatch.getMention()



Simply clone or download the zip of the project, and link to either dist/Autolinker.js or dist/Autolinker.min.js with a script tag:

<script src="path/to/Autolinker.min.js"></script>

Using with the Bower package manager:

Command line:

bower install Autolinker.js --save

Using with Node.js via npm:

Command Line:

npm install autolinker --save


var Autolinker = require( 'autolinker' );
// note: npm wants an all-lowercase package name, but the utility is a class and
// should be aliased with a capital letter


Using the static link() method:

var linkedText = textToAutolink[, options] );

Using as a class:

var autolinker = new Autolinker( [ options ] );
var linkedText = textToAutoLink );

Note: if using the same options to autolink multiple pieces of html/text, it is slightly more efficient to create a single Autolinker instance, and run the link() method repeatedly (i.e. use the "class" form above).


var linkedText = "Check out", { className: "myLink" } );
// Produces: "Check out <a class="myLink myLink-url" href="" target="_blank"></a>"


These are the options which may be specified for linking. These are specified by providing an Object as the second parameter to These include:

  • newWindow : Boolean
    true to have the links should open in a new window when clicked, false otherwise. Defaults to true.

  • urls : Boolean/Object
    true to have URLs auto-linked, false to skip auto-linking of URLs. Defaults to true.

    This option also accepts an Object form with 3 properties to allow for more customization of what exactly gets linked. All default to true:

    • schemeMatches (Boolean): true to match URLs found prefixed with a scheme, i.e., or other+scheme://, false to prevent these types of matches.
    • wwwMatches (Boolean): true to match urls found prefixed with 'www.', i.e. false to prevent these types of matches. Note that if the URL had a prefixed scheme, and schemeMatches is true, it will still be linked.
    • tldMatches: true to match URLs with known top level domains (.com, .net, etc.) that are not prefixed with a scheme or 'www.'. Ex:,, etc. false to prevent these types of matches.

    Example usage: urls: { schemeMatches: true, wwwMatches: true, tldMatches: false }

  • email : Boolean
    true to have email addresses auto-linked, false to skip auto-linking of email addresses. Defaults to true.

  • phone : Boolean
    true to have phone numbers auto-linked, false to skip auto-linking of phone numbers. Defaults to true.

  • mention : String
    A string for the service name to have mentions (@username) auto-linked to. Supported values at this time are 'twitter', and 'instagram'. Pass false to skip auto-linking of mentions. Defaults to false.

  • hashtag : Boolean/String
    A string for the service name to have hashtags auto-linked to. Supported values at this time are 'twitter', 'facebook' and 'instagram'. Pass false to skip auto-linking of hashtags. Defaults to false.

  • stripPrefix : Boolean
    true to have the 'http://' (or 'https://') and/or the 'www.' stripped from the beginning of displayed links, false otherwise. Defaults to true.

    This option also accepts an Object form with 2 properties to allow for more customization of what exactly is prevented from being displayed. Both default to true:

    • scheme (Boolean): true to prevent the scheme part of a URL match from being displayed to the user. Example: '' will be displayed as ''. false to not strip the scheme. NOTE: Only an 'http://' or 'https://' scheme will be removed, so as not to remove a potentially dangerous scheme (such as 'file://' or 'javascript:').
    • www (Boolean): true to prevent the 'www.' part of a URL match from being displayed to the user. Ex: '' will be displayed as ''. false to not strip the 'www'.

  • stripTrailingSlash : Boolean
    true to remove the trailing slash from URL matches, false to keep the trailing slash. Example when true: will be displayed as Defaults to true.

  • truncate : Number/Object
    A number for how many characters long URLs/emails/Twitter handles/Twitter hashtags should be truncated to inside the text of a link. If the match is over the number of characters, it will be truncated to this length by replacing the end of the string with a two period ellipsis ('..').

    Example: a url like '' truncated to 25 characters may look like this: ''

    In the object form, both length and location may be specified to perform truncation. Available options for location are: 'end' (default), 'middle', or 'smart'. Example usage:

    truncate: { length: 32, location: 'middle' }

    The 'smart' truncation option is for URLs where the algorithm attempts to strip out unnecessary parts of the URL (such as the 'www.', then URL scheme, hash, etc.) before trying to find a good point to insert the ellipsis if it is still too long. For details, see source code of: TruncateSmart

  • className : String
    A CSS class name to add to the generated anchor tags. This class will be added to all links, as well as this class plus "url"/"email"/"phone"/"hashtag"/"mention"/"twitter"/"instagram" suffixes for styling url/email/phone/hashtag/mention links differently.

    For example, if this config is provided as "myLink", then:

    1. URL links will have the CSS classes: "myLink myLink-url"
    2. Email links will have the CSS classes: "myLink myLink-email"
    3. Phone links will have the CSS classes: "myLink myLink-phone"
    4. Twitter mention links will have the CSS classes: "myLink myLink-mention myLink-twitter"
    5. Instagram mention links will have the CSS classes: "myLink myLink-mention myLink-instagram"
    6. Hashtag links will have the CSS classes: "myLink myLink-hashtag"
  • replaceFn : Function
    A function to use to programmatically make replacements of matches in the input string, one at a time. See the section Custom Replacement Function for more details.

For example, if you wanted to disable links from opening in new windows, you could do:

var linkedText = "Check out", { newWindow: false } );
// Produces: "Check out <a href=""></a>"

And if you wanted to truncate the length of URLs (while also not opening in a new window), you could do:

var linkedText = "", { truncate: 25, newWindow: false } );
// Produces: "<a href=""></a>"

More Examples

One could update an entire DOM element that has unlinked text to auto-link them as such:

var myTextEl = document.getElementById( 'text' );
myTextEl.innerHTML = myTextEl.innerHTML );

Using the same pre-configured Autolinker instance in multiple locations of a codebase (usually by dependency injection):

var autolinker = new Autolinker( { newWindow: false, truncate: 25 } );
//... "Check out" );
// Produces: "Check out <a href=""></a>"
//... "Go to" );
// Produces: "Go to <a href=""></a>"

Custom Replacement Function

A custom replacement function (replaceFn) may be provided to replace url/email/phone/mention/hashtag matches on an individual basis, based on the return from this function.

Full example, for purposes of documenting the API:

var input = "...";  // string with URLs, Email Addresses, Mentions (Twitter, Instagram), and Hashtags
var linkedText = input, {
    replaceFn : function( match ) {
        console.log( "href = ", match.getAnchorHref() );
        console.log( "text = ", match.getAnchorText() );
        switch( match.getType() ) {
            case 'url' :
                console.log( "url: ", match.getUrl() );
                return true;  // let Autolinker perform its normal anchor tag replacement
            case 'email' :
                var email = match.getEmail();
                console.log( "email: ", email );
                if( email === "my@own.address" ) {
                    return false;  // don't auto-link this particular email address; leave as-is
                } else {
                    return;  // no return value will have Autolinker perform its normal anchor tag replacement (same as returning `true`)
            case 'phone' :
                console.log( "Phone Number: ", match.getNumber() );
                return '<a href="">' + match.getNumber() + '</a>';
            case 'mention' :
                console.log( "Mention: ", match.getMention() );
                console.log( "Mention Service Name: ", match.getServiceName() );
                return '<a href="">' + match.getMention() + '</a>';
            case 'hashtag' :
                console.log( "Hashtag: ", match.getHashtag() );
                return '<a href="">' + match.getHashtag() + '</a>';
} );

Modifying the default generated anchor tag

var input = "...";  // string with URLs, Email Addresses, Mentions (Twitter, Instagram), and Hashtags
var linkedText = input, {
    replaceFn : function( match ) {
        console.log( "href = ", match.getAnchorHref() );
        console.log( "text = ", match.getAnchorText() );
        var tag = match.buildTag();         // returns an `Autolinker.HtmlTag` instance for an <a> tag
        tag.setAttr( 'rel', 'nofollow' );   // adds a 'rel' attribute
        tag.addClass( 'external-link' );    // adds a CSS class
        tag.setInnerHtml( 'Click here!' );  // sets the inner html for the anchor tag
        return tag;
} );

The replaceFn is provided one argument:

  1. An Autolinker.match.Match object which details the match that is to be replaced.

A replacement of the match is made based on the return value of the function. The following return values may be provided:

  1. No return value (undefined), or true (Boolean): Delegate back to Autolinker to replace the match as it normally would.
  2. false (Boolean): Do not replace the current match at all - leave as-is.
  3. Any String: If a string is returned from the function, the string will be used directly as the replacement HTML for the match.
  4. An Autolinker.HtmlTag instance, which can be used to build/modify an HTML tag before writing out its HTML text.

Full API Docs

The full API docs for Autolinker may be referenced at:

Live Example


Pull requests definitely welcome.

  • Make sure to add tests to cover your new functionality/bugfix.
  • Run the gulp test command to build/test (or alternatively, open the tests/index.html file to run the tests).
  • When committing, please omit checking in the files in the dist/ folder after building/testing. These are only committed to the repository for users downloading Autolinker via Bower. I will build these files and assign them a version number when merging your PR.
  • Please use tabs for indents! Tabs are better for everybody (individuals can set their editors to different tab sizes based on their visual preferences).


See Releases