0.11.1 • Public • Published

React Rich Text Editor

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This is a UI component built completely in React that is meant to be a full-featured textarea replacement similar to CKEditor, TinyMCE and other rich text "WYSIWYG" editors. It's based on the excellent, open source Draft.js from Facebook which is performant and production-tested.


Try the editor here:

Screenshot 1

Getting Started

$ npm install --save react-rte

RichTextEditor is the main editor component. It is comprised of the Draft.js <Editor>, some UI components (e.g. toolbar) and some helpful abstractions around getting and setting content with HTML/Markdown.

RichTextEditor is designed to be used like a textarea except that instead of value being a string, it is an object with toString on it. Creating a value from a string is also easy using createValueFromString(markup, 'html').

Example Usage:

This example uses newer JavaScript and JSX. For an example in old JavaScript, see below.

import React, {Component, PropTypes} from 'react';
import RichTextEditor from 'react-rte';
class MyStatefulEditor extends Component {
  static propTypes = {
    onChange: PropTypes.func
  state = {
    value: RichTextEditor.createEmptyValue()
  onChange = (value) => {
    if (this.props.onChange) {
      // Send the changes up to the parent component as an HTML string.
      // This is here to demonstrate using `.toString()` but in a real app it
      // would be better to avoid generating a string on each change.
  render () {
    return (

Toolbar Customization

render() {
  // The toolbarConfig object allows you to specify custom buttons, reorder buttons and to add custom css classes.
  // Supported inline styles:
  // Supported block types:
  const toolbarConfig = {
    // Optionally specify the groups to display (displayed in the order listed).
      {label: 'Bold', style: 'BOLD', className: 'custom-css-class'},
      {label: 'Italic', style: 'ITALIC'},
      {label: 'Underline', style: 'UNDERLINE'}
      {label: 'Normal', style: 'unstyled'},
      {label: 'Heading Large', style: 'header-one'},
      {label: 'Heading Medium', style: 'header-two'},
      {label: 'Heading Small', style: 'header-three'}
      {label: 'UL', style: 'unordered-list-item'},
      {label: 'OL', style: 'ordered-list-item'}
  return (
    <RichTextEditor toolbarConfig={toolbarConfig} />


In short, this is a 2016 approach to rich text editing built on modern, battle-hardened components and, importantly, we do not store document state in the DOM, eliminating entire classes of common "WYSIWYG" problems.

This editor is built on Draft.js from Facebook. Draft.js is more of a low-level framework (contentEditable abstraction), however this component is intended to be a fully polished UI component that you can reach for when you need to replace a <textarea/> in your application to support bold, italic, links, lists, etc.

The data model in Draft.js allows us to represent the document in a way that is mostly agnostic to the view/render layer or the textual representation (html/markdown) you choose. This data model encapsulates the content/state of the editor and is based on Immutable.js to be both performant and easy to reason about.


  • Pure React and fully declarative
  • Supported formats: HTML and Markdown (coming soon: extensible support for custom formats)
  • Document Model represents your document in a sane way that will deterministically convert to clean markup regardless of your format choice
  • Takes full advantage of Immutable.js and the excellent performance characteristics that come with it.
  • Reliable undo/redo without a large memory footprint
  • Modern browser support

Deterministic Output

Unlike typical rich text editors (such as CKEditor and TinyMCE) we keep our content state in a well-architected data model instead of in the view. One important advantage of separating our data model from our view is deterministic output.

Say, for instance, you select some text and add bold style. Then you add italic style. Or what if you add italic first and then bold. The result should be the same either way: the text range has both bold and italic style. But in the browser's view (Document Object Model) is this represented with a <strong> inside of an <em> or vice versa? Does it depend on the order in which you added the styles? In many web-based editors the HTML output does depend on the order of your actions. That means your output is non-deterministic. Two documents that look exactly the same in the editor will have different, sometimes unpredictable, HTML representations.

In this editor we use a pure, deterministic function to convert document state to HTML output. No matter how you arrived at the state, the output will be predictable. This makes everything easier to reason about. In our case, the <strong> will go inside the <em> every time.


Required Props

  • value: Used to represent the content/state of the editor. Initially you will probably want to create an instance using a provided helper such as RichTextEditor.createEmptyValue() or RichTextEditor.createValueFromString(markup, 'html').
  • onChange: A function that will be called with the "value" of the editor whenever it is changed. The value has a toString method which accepts a single format argument (either 'html' or 'markdown').

Other Props

All the props you can pass to Draft.js Editor can be passed to RichTextEditor (with the exception of editorState which will be generated internally based on the value prop).

  • autoFocus: Setting this to true will automatically focus input into the editor when the component is mounted
  • placeholder: A string to use as placeholder text for the RichTextEditor.
  • readOnly: A boolean that determines if the RichTextEditor should render static html.

EditorValue Class

In Draft.js EditorState contains not only the document contents but the entire state of the editor including cursor position and selection. This is helpful for many reasons including undo/redo. To make things easier for you, we have wrapped the state of the editor in an EditorValue instance with helpful methods to convert to/from a HTML or Markdown. An instance of this class should be passed to RichTextEditor in the value prop.

The EditorValue class has certain optimizations built in. So let's say you are showing the HTML of the editor contents in your view. If you change your cursor position, that will trigger an onChange event (because, remember, cursor position is part of EditorState) and you will need to call toString() to render your view. However, EditorValue is smart enough to know that the content didn't actually change since last toString() so it will return a cached version of the HTML.

Optimization tip: Try to call editorValue.toString() only when you actually need to convert it to a string. If you can keep passing around the editorValue without calling toString it will be very performant.

Example with ES5 and no JSX

var React = require('react');
var RichTextEditor = require('react-rte');
  propTypes: {
    onChange: React.PropTypes.func
  getInitialState: function() {
    return {
      value: RichTextEditor.createEmptyValue()
  render: function() {
    return React.createElement(RichTextEditor, {
      value: this.state.value,
      onChange: this.onChange
  onChange: function(value) {
    this.setState({value: value});
    if (this.props.onChange) {
      // Send the changes up to the parent component as an HTML string.
      // This is here to demonstrate using `.toString()` but in a real app it
      // would be better to avoid generating a string on each change.


  • Support images
  • Better test coverage
  • Documentation for using this editor in your projects
  • Fix some issues with Markdown parsing (migrate to remark parser)
  • Internationalization
  • Better icons and overall design

Known Limitations

Currently the biggest limitation is that images are not supported. There is a plan to support inline images (using decorators) and eventually Medium-style block-level images (using a custom block renderer).

Other limitations include missing features such as: text-alignment and text color. These are coming soon.

React prior v15 will log the following superfluous warning:

A component is contentEditable and contains children managed by React. It is now your responsibility to guarantee that none of those nodes are unexpectedly modified or duplicated. This is probably not intentional.

As all nodes are managed internally by Draft, this is not a problem and this warning can be safely ignored. You can suppress this warning's display completely by duck-punching console.error before instantiating your component:

console.error = (function(_error) {
  return function(message) {
    if (typeof message !== 'string' || message.indexOf('component is `contentEditable`') === -1) {
      _error.apply(console, arguments);


I'm happy to take pull requests for bug-fixes and improvements (and tests). If you have a feature you want to implement it's probably a good idea to open an issue first to see if it's already being worked on. Please match the code style of the rest of the project (ESLint should enforce this) and please include tests. Thanks!

Run the Demo

Clone this project. Run npm install. Run npm run build-dist then point the server of your choice (like serv) to /demo.html.


This software is ISC Licensed.

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