node package manager
Don’t reinvent the wheel. Reuse code within your team. Create a free org »



Dispatching is a convenient mechanism for separating concerns with loosely-coupled code: register named callbacks and then call them with arbitrary arguments. A variety of D3 components, such as d3-request, use this mechanism to emit events to listeners. Think of this like Node’s EventEmitter, except every listener has a well-defined name so it’s easy to remove or replace them.

For example, to create a dispatch for start and end events:

var dispatch = d3.dispatch("start", "end");

You can then register callbacks for these events using dispatch.on:

dispatch.on("start", callback1);
dispatch.on("", callback2);
dispatch.on("end", callback3);

Then, you can invoke all the start callbacks using or dispatch.apply:"start");

Like, you may also specify the this context and any arguments:"start", {about: "I am a context object"}, "I am an argument");

Want a more involved example? See how to use d3-dispatch for coordinated views.


If you use NPM, npm install d3-dispatch. Otherwise, download the latest release. You can also load directly from, either as a standalone library or as part of D3 4.0. AMD, CommonJS, and vanilla environments are supported. In vanilla, a d3 global is exported:

<script src=""></script>
var dispatch = d3.dispatch("start", "end");

Try d3-dispatch in your browser.

API Reference

# d3.dispatch(types…) <>

Creates a new dispatch for the specified event types. Each type is a string, such as "start" or "end".

# dispatch.on(typenames[, callback]) <>

Adds, removes or gets the callback for the specified typenames. If a callback function is specified, it is registered for the specified (fully-qualified) typenames. If a callback was already registered for the given typenames, the existing callback is removed before the new callback is added.

The specified typenames is a string, such as start or The type may be optionally followed by a period (.) and a name; the optional name allows multiple callbacks to be registered to receive events of the same type, such as and To specify multiple typenames, separate typenames with spaces, such as start end or

To remove all callbacks for a given name foo, say dispatch.on(".foo", null).

If callback is not specified, returns the current callback for the specified typenames, if any. If multiple typenames are specified, the first matching callback is returned.

# dispatch.copy() <>

Returns a copy of this dispatch object. Changes to this dispatch do not affect the returned copy and vice versa.

#[, that[, arguments…]]) <>

Like, invokes each registered callback for the specified type, passing the callback the specified arguments, with that as the this context. See dispatch.apply for more information.

# dispatch.apply(type[, that[, arguments]]) <>

Like function.apply, invokes each registered callback for the specified type, passing the callback the specified arguments, with that as the this context. For example, if you wanted to dispatch your custom callbacks after handling a native click event, while preserving the current this context and arguments, you could say:

selection.on("click", function() {
  dispatch.apply("custom", this, arguments);

You can pass whatever arguments you want to callbacks; most commonly, you might create an object that represents an event, or pass the current datum (d) and index (i). See and function.apply for further information.