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3.14.2 • Public • Published


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 "google.com", as well as "http://google.com".
  • 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, Soundcloud).
  • 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: http://gregjacobs.github.io/Autolinker.js/api/
Live Example: http://gregjacobs.github.io/Autolinker.js/examples/live-example/

v3.0 released Jan 2019

See Upgrading from v2.x -> v3.x (Breaking Changes) at the bottom of this readme


Installing with the npm package manager:

npm install autolinker --save

Installing with the Yarn package manager:

yarn add autolinker

Installing with the Bower package manager:

bower install Autolinker.js --save

Direct download

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

Importing Autolinker


import Autolinker from 'autolinker';


const 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


<!-- 'Autolinker.js' or 'Autolinker.min.js' - non-minified is better for 
     debugging, minified is better for users' download time -->
<script src="path/to/autolinker/dist/Autolinker.min.js"></script>


Using the static link() method:

var linkedText = Autolinker.link( textToAutolink[, options] );

Using as a class:

var autolinker = new Autolinker( [ options ] );
var linkedText = autolinker.link( 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 = Autolinker.link( "Check out google.com" );
// Produces: "Check out <a href="http://google.com" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">google.com</a>"
var linkedText = Autolinker.link( "Check out google.com", { 
    newWindow: false 
} );
// Produces: "Check out <a href="http://google.com">google.com</a>"


The following are the options which may be specified for linking. These are specified by providing an Object as the second parameter to Autolinker.link(). 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. http://google.com, or other+scheme://google.com, false to prevent these types of matches.
    • wwwMatches (boolean): true to match urls found prefixed with 'www.', i.e. www.google.com. 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: google.com, asdf.org/?page=1, 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', 'soundcloud' 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: 'http://google.com' will be displayed as 'google.com'. 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: 'www.google.com' will be displayed as 'google.com'. 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: http://google.com/ will be displayed as http://google.com. 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 'http://www.yahoo.com/some/long/path/to/a/file' truncated to 25 characters may look like this: 'yahoo.com/some/long/pat..'

    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:

    • URL links will have the CSS classes: "myLink myLink-url"
    • Email links will have the CSS classes: "myLink myLink-email"
    • Phone links will have the CSS classes: "myLink myLink-phone"
    • Twitter mention links will have the CSS classes: "myLink myLink-mention myLink-twitter"
    • Instagram mention links will have the CSS classes: "myLink myLink-mention myLink-instagram"
    • Hashtag links will have the CSS classes: "myLink myLink-hashtag"
  • decodePercentEncoding: boolean
    true to decode percent-encoded characters in URL matches, false to keep the percent-encoded characters.

    Example when true: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Jos%C3%A9 will be displayed as https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_José.

    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.

  • sanitizeHtml : boolean

    true to HTML-encode the start and end brackets of existing HTML tags found in the input string. This will escape < and > characters to &lt; and &gt;, respectively.

    Setting this to true will prevent XSS (Cross-site Scripting) attacks, but will remove the significance of existing HTML tags in the input string. If you would like to maintain the significance of existing HTML tags while also making the output HTML string safe, leave this option as false and use a tool like https://github.com/cure53/DOMPurify (or others) on the input string before running Autolinker.

    Defaults to false.

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

var linkedText = Autolinker.link( "Check out google.com", { 
    newWindow: false 
} );
// Produces: "Check out <a href="http://google.com">google.com</a>"

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

var linkedText = Autolinker.link( "http://www.yahoo.com/some/long/path/to/a/file", { 
    truncate: 25, 
    newWindow: false 
} );
// Produces: "<a href="http://www.yahoo.com/some/long/path/to/a/file">yahoo.com/some/long/pat..</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 = Autolinker.link( 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 } );
autolinker.link( "Check out http://www.yahoo.com/some/long/path/to/a/file" );
// Produces: "Check out <a href="http://www.yahoo.com/some/long/path/to/a/file">yahoo.com/some/long/pat..</a>"
autolinker.link( "Go to www.google.com" );
// Produces: "Go to <a href="http://www.google.com">google.com</a>"

Retrieving the List of Matches

If you're just interested in retrieving the list of Matches without producing a transformed string, you can use the parse() method.

For example:

var matches = Autolinker.parse( "Hello google.com, I am asdf@asdf.com", {
    urls: true,
    email: true
} );

console.log( matches.length );           // 2
console.log( matches[ 0 ].getType() );   // 'url'
console.log( matches[ 0 ].getUrl() );    // 'google.com'
console.log( matches[ 1 ].getType() );   // 'email'
console.log( matches[ 1 ].getEmail() );  // 'asdf@asdf.com'

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 = Autolinker.link( 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.getPhoneNumber() );
                return '<a href="http://newplace.to.link.phone.numbers.to/">' + match.getPhoneNumber() + '</a>';
            case 'mention' :
                console.log( "Mention: ", match.getMention() );
                console.log( "Mention Service Name: ", match.getServiceName() );
                return '<a href="http://newplace.to.link.mention.handles.to/">' + match.getMention() + '</a>';
            case 'hashtag' :
                console.log( "Hashtag: ", match.getHashtag() );
                return '<a href="http://newplace.to.link.hashtag.handles.to/">' + match.getHashtag() + '</a>';
} );

Modifying the default generated anchor tag

var input = "...";  // string with URLs, Email Addresses, Mentions (Twitter, Instagram), and Hashtags
var linkedText = Autolinker.link( 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: http://gregjacobs.github.io/Autolinker.js/api/

Live Example


Users of Internet Explorer 8 and Below

Autolinker compiles into ES5, and uses ES5 library methods. If you need to run Autolinker on old browsers (i.e. Internet Explorer 8 or below), you will need some polyfills.

I recommend using the core-js ES5 polyfill. You may also be able to get away with adding the following two polyfills, but that may or may not be true in the future:

if( typeof Array.prototype.forEach !== 'function' ) {
    Array.prototype.forEach = function( callback, thisArg ) {
        for( var i = 0; i < this.length; i++ ) {
            callback.apply( thisArg || this, [ this[ i ], i, this ] );
if( typeof Object.assign !== 'function' ) {
    Object.assign = function( target ) {
        var srcObjs = Array.prototype.slice.call( arguments, 1 );
        for( var i = 0, len = srcObjs.length; i < len; i++ ) {
            var currentSrcObj = srcObjs[ i ];
            for( var prop in currentSrcObj ) {
                if( currentSrcObj.hasOwnProperty( prop ) ) {
                    target[ prop ] = currentSrcObj[ prop ];
        return target;

Upgrading from v2.x -> v3.x (Breaking Changes)

  1. If you are still on v1.x, first follow the instructions in the Upgrading from v1.x -> v2.x section below.
  2. The HtmlParser class has been removed in favor of an internal parseHtml() function which replaces the old regexp-based implementation with a state machine parser that is guaranteed to run in linear time. If you were using the HtmlParser class directly, I recommend switching to htmlparser2, which implements the HTML semantics better. The internal parseHtml() function that Autolinker now uses is fairly geared towards Autolinker's purposes, and may not be useful in a general HTML parsing sense.

Upgrading from v1.x -> v2.x (Breaking Changes)

  1. If you are still on v0.x, first follow the instructions in the Upgrading from v0.x -> v1.x section below.

  2. The codebase has been converted to TypeScript, and uses ES6 exports. You can now use the import statement to pull in the Autolinker class and related entities such as Match:

    // ES6/TypeScript/Webpack
    import Autolinker, { Match } from 'autolinker';

    The require() interface is still supported as well for Node.js:

    // Node.js
    const Autolinker = require( 'autolinker' );
  3. You will no longer need the @types/autolinker package as this package now exports its own types

  4. You will no longer be able to override the regular expressions in the Matcher classes by assigning to the prototype (for instance, something like PhoneMatcher.prototype.regex = ...). This is due to how TypeScript creates properties for class instances in the constructor rather than on prototypes.

    The idea of providing your own regular expression for these classes is a brittle notion anyway, as the Matcher classes rely on capturing groups in the RegExp being in the right place, or even multiple capturing groups for the same piece of information to support a different format. These capturing groups and associated code are subject to change as the regular expression needs to be updated, and will not involve a major version release of Autolinker.

    In the future you will be able to override the default Matcher classes entirely to provide your own implementation, but please raise an issue (or +1 an issue) if you think the library should support a currently-unsupported format.

Upgrading from v0.x -> v1.x (Breaking Changes)

  1. twitter option removed, replaced with mention (which accepts 'twitter', 'instagram' and 'soundcloud' 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()

Developing / Contributing

Pull requests definitely welcome. To setup the project, make sure you have Node.js installed. Then open up a command prompt and type the following:

npm install -g yarn  # if you don't have yarn already

cd Autolinker.js     # where you cloned the project
yarn install

To run the tests:

yarn test
  • Make sure to add tests to cover your new functionality/bugfix
  • Run the yarn test command to build/test
  • Please use tabs for indents! Tabs are better for everybody (individuals can set their editors to different tab sizes based on their visual preferences).

Building the Project Fully

For this you will need Ruby installed (note: Ruby comes pre-installed on MacOS), with the JSDuck gem.

See https://github.com/senchalabs/jsduck#getting-it for installation instructions on Windows/Mac/Linux

JSDuck is used to build the project's API/documentation site. See Documentation Generator Notes for more info.

Running the Live Example Page Locally


yarn serve

Then open your browser to: http://localhost:8080/docs/examples/index.html

You should be able to make a change to source files, and refresh the page to see the changes.

Note: If anyone wants to submit a PR converting gulp watch to webpack with the live development server, that would be much appreciated :)

Documentation Generator Notes

This project uses JSDuck for its documentation generation, which produces the page at http://gregjacobs.github.io/Autolinker.js.

Unfortunately, JSDuck is a very old project that is no longer maintained. As such, it doesn't support TypeScript or anything from ES6 (the class keyword, arrow functions, etc). However, I have yet to find a better documentation generator that creates such a useful API site. (Suggestions for a new one are welcome though - please raise an issue.)

Since ES6 is not supported, we must generate the documentation from the ES5 output. As such, a few precautions must be taken care of to make sure the documentation comes out right:

  1. @cfg documentation tags must exist above a class property that has a default value, or else it won't end up in the ES5 output. For example:

    // Will correctly end up in the ES5 output
     * @cfg {String} title
    readonly titlestring = '';
    // Will *not* end up in ES5 output, and thus, won't end up in the generated
    // documentation
     * @cfg {String} title
    readonly titlestring;
  2. The @constructor tag must be replaced with @method constructor


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