Offscreen Text for Copy & Paste

The relationship between HTML and CSS is special: mixing content via HTML with presentation from CSS to make an awesome presentation. Sometimes, however, you need to employ CSS tricks solely to enhance functionality. This could be one of those cases. When browsing through the Firefox DevTools console code, I noticed a really clever technique for […]

The post Offscreen Text for Copy & Paste appeared first on David Walsh Blog.

The relationship between HTML and CSS is special: mixing content via HTML with presentation from CSS to make an awesome presentation. Sometimes, however, you need to employ CSS tricks solely to enhance functionality. This could be one of those cases.

When browsing through the Firefox DevTools console code, I noticed a really clever technique for hiding text on screen but making sure it’s present during a copy + paste. Here’s the technique:

<p>Jenny don't change your number <span class="copy-only">8675309</span></p>
.copy-only { display: block; position: absolute; left: -9999999px; top: -9999999px;
}

With the CSS above, the screen displays “Jenny don’t change your number” while copying that line would result in “Jenny don’t change your number 8675309”.

When you plant the text offscreen via CSS, it’s still copied to the clipboard when the user does a copy operation. You’re essentially picking and choosing what gets copied, which can be very valuable if you expect users to copy your content.

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