How To Make Unselectable Text In HTML (Simple Examples)

Welcome to a quick tutorial on how to make unselectable text in HTML. So you have a not-so-top-secret website that you want to protect? Stop people from highlighting and copying the text?

There are 2 common ways to create unselectable text:

  1. In CSS, simply add the user-select: none property.
  2. In Javascript, document.getElementById("TARGET").onselectstart = function () { return false; }

That covers the basics, but let us walk through a few more examples in this guide – Read on!

ⓘ I have included a zip file with all the example source code at the start of this tutorial, so you don’t have to copy-paste everything… Or if you just want to dive straight in.

 

 

QUICK SLIDES

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Download & Notes Unselectable Text Useful Bits & Links
The End

 

 

DOWNLOAD & NOTES

Firstly, here is the download link to the example code as promised.

 

QUICK NOTES

If you spot a bug, feel free to comment below. I try to answer short questions too, but it is one person versus the entire world… If you need answers urgently, please check out my list of websites to get help with programming.

 

EXAMPLE CODE DOWNLOAD

Click here to download the source code, I have released it under the MIT license, so feel free to build on top of it or use it in your own project.

 

UNSELECTABLE TEXT

All right, let us now walk through how to stop text highlighting in this section, and a few more extra measures.

 

1) CSS NO TEXT SELECT

1-css-no-select.html
<style>
.nohigh {
  user-select: none;
  -webkit-user-select: none;
  -moz-user-select: none;
  -ms-user-select: none;
}
.nohigh::selection {
  background: transparent;
}
</style>
 
<span class="nohigh">
  You shall not highlight this block of text!
</span>
You shall not highlight this block of text!
  • As with the above introduction, user-select: none is all we need to stop people from highlighting a block of text.
  • All the -webkit -moz -ms prefix is just-in-case, to maintain cross-browser compatibility.
  • Lastly, .nohigh::selection { background: transparent; } is a small trick to further confuse people with a transparent highlight – Should the “main” user-select: none fails.

 

 

2) JAVASCRIPT HIGHLIGHT STOPPER

2-js-no-select.html
<script>
window.addEventListener("load", () => {
  var all = document.getElementsByClassName("nohigh");
  for (let a of all) {
    a.onselectstart = () => { return false; }
  }
});
</script>
<div class="nohigh">
  You shall not highlight this block of text!
</div>
<div class="nohigh">
  Cannot be highlighted.
</div>

This is the Javascript way to prevent text highlighting, just hit return false when the user selects a block of text. But please take note that there is a restriction with this method – Users can still select this block of text by starting the highlighting from somewhere else…

 

3) TOO MUCH EFFORT, NO PROTECTION. WORTH IT?

Yes, we can combine both CSS and Javascript for the so-called “extra protection”. But it will not stop the advanced users, as there are plenty of ways to bypass that “no text select”:

  • Right-click > View source code > Copy.
  • Right-click > Inspect element > Copy.
  • Save HTML page as > Copy.
  • Print as PDF > Copy.

I mean, having a lock is better than none, but is it really worth all the trouble to stop people from copying? You decide for yourself.

 

 

USEFUL BITS & LINKS

That’s all for this guide, and here is a small section on some extras and links that may be useful to you.

 

THE REAL PROTECTION – LEGAL PROTECTION

Not a sponsored message, but if the contents are really that valuable, sign up with DMCA instead – It’s free. Get them to help with the legal takedown actions (legal and admin fee are separate), so long as you can prove the contents are yours.

 

LINKS & REFERENCES

 

YOUTUBE TUTORIAL

 

INFOGRAPHIC CHEAT SHEET

How To Make Unselectable HTML Text (click to enlarge)

 

THE END

Thank you for reading, and we have come to the end of this guide. I hope that it has helped you with your project, and if you want to share anything with this guide, please feel free to comment below. Good luck and happy coding!

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