Utility to automatically link the URLs, email addresses, and Twitter handles in a given block of text/HTML


Because I had so much trouble finding a good autolinking 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 Twitter handles.
  • Will properly handle HTML input. The utility will not change the href attribute inside anchor (<a>) tags (or any other tag/attribute for that matter), 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!

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.

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

  • truncate : Number
    A number for how many characters long URLs/emails/twitter handles should be truncated to inside the text of a link. If the URL/email/twitter 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: ''

  • 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"/"twitter" suffixes for styling url/email/twitter 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", and
    3. Twitter links will have the CSS classes: "myLink myLink-twitter"
  • urls : Boolean
    true to have URLs auto-linked, false to skip auto-linking of URLs. Defaults to true.

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

  • twitter : Boolean
    true to have Twitter handles auto-linked, false to skip auto-linking of Twitter handles. Defaults to true.

  • 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>" 

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>" 

A custom replacement function (replaceFn) may be provided to replace url/email/twitter 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, and Twitter Handles 
var linkedText = input, {
    replaceFn : function( autolinkermatch ) {
        console.log( "href = ", match.getAnchorHref() );
        console.log( "text = ", match.getAnchorText() );
        switch( match.getType() ) {
            case 'url' : 
                console.log( "url: ", match.getUrl() );
                if( match.getUrl().indexOf( '' ) === -1 ) {
                    var tag = autolinker.getTagBuilder().build( match );  // returns an `Autolinker.HtmlTag` instance, which provides mutator methods for easy changes 
                    tag.setAttr( 'rel', 'nofollow' );
                    tag.addClass( 'external-link' );
                    return tag;
                } else {
                    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 'twitter' :
                var twitterHandle = match.getTwitterHandle();
                console.log( twitterHandle );
                return '<a href="">' + twitterHandle + '</a>';
} );

The function is provided two arguments:

  1. The Autolinker instance that is performing replacements. This can be used to query the options that the Autolinker instance is configured with, or to retrieve its TagBuilder instance (via autolinker.getTagBuilder()).
  2. 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:

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

The full API docs for Autolinker may be referenced at:

See Releases