How To Html Encode In Javascript

When working with JavaScript and HTML, you might encounter a situation where you need to encode special characters in a string into their respective HTML entities. This is essential to ensure that your content is interpreted correctly by the browser and to prevent potential security issues, such as Cross-Site Scripting (XSS).

In this blog post, we will explore a simple way to HTML encode a given string in JavaScript, using a built-in browser method called textContent.

Using the textContent Property

The textContent property is a simple yet powerful feature of the DOM (Document Object Model) that provides an easy way to HTML encode a string in JavaScript. This property sets or returns the text content of the specified node and its descendants.

Here’s a simple function that takes a string input and returns its HTML-encoded equivalent:

    function htmlEncode(str) {
        var el = document.createElement('div');
        el.textContent = str;
        return el.innerHTML;

This function creates a new <div> element, sets its textContent property to the input string, and then returns the innerHTML of the element, which is the HTML-encoded version of the input string.

Example Usage

Let’s see how to use the htmlEncode function in a real-world scenario. Consider the following example:

    var userContent = "Hello World! <script>alert('XSS');</script>";
    var encodedContent = htmlEncode(userContent);
    document.getElementById("output").innerHTML = encodedContent;

In this example, we have a string userContent containing potentially unsafe HTML tags. We pass this string to the htmlEncode function, which encodes the HTML entities and returns the encoded string. Finally, we set the innerHTML property of an element with the ID “output” to the encoded content, thereby preventing any unwanted script execution or rendering of the HTML tags.


HTML encoding is essential when working with user-generated content or any other content that might contain potentially unsafe characters. The textContent property offers a simple and efficient way to achieve this in JavaScript. By implementing the htmlEncode function in our example, you can easily encode a string into its HTML entities and safely display it on your webpage.