How To Escape Special Characters In Jquery

In this blog post, we will be discussing how to escape special characters in jQuery. Often, when working with jQuery, it is necessary to manipulate elements based on their attribute values, which may include special characters. Before diving into the escape process, let’s first understand what special characters are and why they need to be escaped.

What are Special Characters?

Special characters are characters that have a specific meaning within the context of a programming language, such as jQuery. These characters include:

  • Period (.)
  • Hash (#)
  • Colon (:)
  • Semicolon (;)
  • Ampersand (&)
  • and many more…

When these characters appear in a jQuery selector, they may cause problems if not properly handled because jQuery might interpret them as part of the syntax instead of as a character in a string. To prevent this, special characters must be escaped.

How to Escape Special Characters in jQuery

In jQuery, special characters can be escaped by placing two backslashes (\\) before the special character. This tells jQuery to treat the character literally, instead of interpreting it as part of the syntax.

For example, let’s say we have an input element with an ID containing a period (.):

    <input type="text" id="example.with.period">

To select this element using jQuery, we would need to escape the period with two backslashes:


This selector tells jQuery to look for an element with an ID of example.with.period, rather than interpreting the period as a class separator.

Automating the Escape Process

In some cases, you may not know beforehand whether an attribute value will contain special characters. In these situations, it’s helpful to have a function that can automatically escape special characters for you. Here’s a simple function to do just that:

    function escapeSelector(selector) {
        return selector.replace(/([!"#$%&amp;'()*+,-./:;&lt;=&gt;?@[\\\]^`{|}~])/g, '\\\\$1');

This function uses a regular expression to search for special characters in the given selector and replaces them with their escaped version. You can use this function to escape special characters in any jQuery selector:

    var escapedId = escapeSelector("example.with.period");
    $("#" + escapedId)


Escaping special characters in jQuery is an essential skill to prevent unexpected behavior when manipulating elements with attribute values containing these characters. By placing two backslashes before each special character, or by using a helper function like the one shown in this post, you can ensure your selectors work as intended, regardless of the presence of special characters.