JavaScript Data GridCell editor

Create a custom cell editor function, to have full control over how editing works in the cells of your data grid.


Handsontable separates the process of displaying the cell value from the process of changing the value. Renderers are responsible for presenting the data and Editors for altering it. As a renderer has only one simple task: get actual value of the cell and return its representation as a HTML code they can be a single function. Editors, however, need to handle user input (that is, mouse and keyboard events), validate data and behave according to validation results, so putting all those functionalities into a single function wouldn't be a good idea. That's why Handsontable editors are represented by editor classes.

This tutorial will give you a comprehensive understanding of how the whole process of cell editing works, how Handsontable Core manages editors, how editor life cycle looks like and finally - how to create your own editors.

EditorManager is a class responsible for handling all editors available in Handsontable. If Handsontable needs to interact with editors it uses EditorManager object. EditorManager object is instantiated in init() method which is run, after you invoke Handsontable() constructor for the first time. The reference for EditorManager object is kept private in Handsontable instance and you cannot access it. However, there are ways to alter the default behaviour of EditorManager, more on that later.

EditorManager tasks

EditorManager has 4 main tasks:

  • Selecting proper editor for an active cell
  • Preparing editor to be displayed
  • Displaying editor (based on user behavior)
  • Closing editor (based on user behavior).

We will discuss each of those tasks in detail.

Select proper editor for an active cell

When user selects a cell EditorManager finds the editor class assigned to this cell, examining the value of the editor configuration option. You can define the editor configuration option globally (for all cells in table), per column (for all cells in column) or for each cell individually. For more details, see the Configuration options guide.

The value of the editor configuration option can be either a string representing an editor (such as 'text', 'autocomplete', 'checkbox' etc.), or an editor class. EditorManager will then get an instance of editor class and the first very important thing to remember is: there is always one instance of certain editor class in a single table, in other words each editor class object is a singleton within a single table, which means that its constructor will be invoked only once per table. If you have 3 tables on a page, each table will have its own instance of editor class. This has some important implications that you have to consider creating your own editor.

Prepare editor to be displayed

When EditorManager obtain editor class instance (editor object) it invokes its prepare() method. The prepare() method sets editor objects properties related to the selected cell, but does not display the editor. prepare() is called each time user selects a cell. In some cases it can be invoked multiple times for the same cell, without changing the selection.

Display editor

When editor is prepared the EditorManager waits for user event that triggers cell edition. Those events are:

  • Pressing Enter
  • Pressing Shift+Enter
  • double clicking cell
  • Pressing F2

If any of those events is triggered, EditorManager calls editor's beginEditing() method, which should display the editor.

Close editor

When editor is opened the EditorManager waits for user event that should end cell edition. Those events are:

  • Clicking on another cell (saves changes)
  • Pressing Enter (saves changes and moves selection one cell down)
  • Pressing Shift+Enter (saves changes and moves selection one cell up)
  • Pressing Ctrl/Cmd+Enter or Alt/Option+Enter (adds a new line inside the cell)
  • Pressing Escape (aborts changes)
  • Pressing Tab (saves changes and moves one cell to the right or to the left, depending on your layout direction)
  • Pressing Shift+Tab (saves changes and moves one cell to the left or to the right, depending on your layout direction)
  • Pressing Page Up, Page Down (saves changes and moves one screen up/down)

If any of those events is triggered, EditorManager calls editor's finishEditing() method, which should try to save changes (unless ESC key has been pressed) and close the editor.

Overriding EditorManager default behaviour

You may want to change the default events that causes editor to open or close. For example, your editor might use Arrow Up and Arrow Down events to perform some actions (for example increasing or decreasing cell value) and you don't want EditorManager to close the editor when user press those keys. That's why EditorManager runs beforeKeyDown hook before processing user events. If you register a listener for beforeKeyDown, that call stopImmediatePropagation() on event object EditorManager won perform its default action. More on overriding EditorManager's behaviour in section "SelectEditor - creating editor from scratch".

You should now have a better understanding on how EditorManager works. Let's go a bit deeper and see what methods every editor class must implement and what those methods do.


Handsontable.editors.BaseEditor is an abstract class from which all editor classes should inherit. It implements some of the basic editor methods as well as declares some methods that should be implemented by each editor class. In this section we examine all of those methods.

Common methods

Common methods, are methods implemented by BaseEditor class. They contain some core logic that every editor should have. Most of the time, you shouldn't bother with those methods. However, if you are creating some more complex editors, you might want to override some of the common methods, in which case you should always invoke the original method and then perform other operations, specific to your editor.

Example - overriding common method

// CustomEditor is a class, inheriting from BaseEditor
class CustomEditor extends BaseEditor {
  prepare(row, col, prop, td, originalValue, cellProperties) {
    // Invoke the original method...
    super.prepare(row, col, prop, td, originalValue, cellProperties);
    // ...and then do some stuff specific to your CustomEditor
    this.customEditorSpecificProperty = 'foo';

There are 7 common methods. All of them are described below.

prepare(row: Number, col: Number, prop: Number|String, td: HTMLTableCellElement, originalValue: Mixed, cellProperties: Object)

Prepares editor to be displayed for given cell. Sets most of the instance properties.

Returns: undefined

beginEditing(newInitialValue: Mixed, event: Mixed)

Sets editor value to newInitialValue. If newInitialValue is undefined, the editor value is set to original cell value. Calls open() method internally.

Returns: undefined

finishEditing(restoreOriginalValue: 'Boolean' [optional], ctrlDown: Boolean [optional], callback: Function)

Tries to finish cell edition. Calls saveValue() and discardEditor() internally. If restoreOriginalValue is set to true cell value is being set to its original value (from before the edition). ctrlDown value is passed to saveValue() as the second argument.

Callback function contains a boolean parameter - if new value is valid or the allowInvalid configuration option is set to true, otherwise the parameter is false.

discardEditor(result: Boolean)

Called when cell validation ends. If new value is saved successfully (result is set to true or allowInvalid property is true) it calls close() method, otherwise calls focus() method and keeps editor opened.

Returns: undefined

saveValue(value: Mixed, ctrlDown: Boolean)

Tries to save value as new cell value. Performs validation internally. If ctrlDown is set to true the new value will be set to all selected cells.

Returns: undefined


Returns true if editor is opened or false if editor is closed. Editor is considered to be opened after open() has been called. Editor is considered closed close() after method has been called.

Returns: Boolean


Returns: Function - a class function that inherits from the current class. The prototype methods of the returned class can be safely overwritten, without a danger of altering the parent's prototype.

Example - inheriting from BaseEditor and overriding its method

const CustomEditor = Handsontable.editors.BaseEditor.prototype.extend();

// This won't alter BaseEditor.prototype.beginEditing()
CustomEditor.prototype.beginEditing = function() {};

Example - inheriting from another editor

const CustomTextEditor = Handsontable.editors.TextEditor.prototype.extend();

// CustomTextEditor uses all methods implemented by TextEditor.
// You can safely override any method without affecting original TextEditor.

Note: This is an utility method not related to the process of editing cell.

Editor specific methods

Editor specific methods are methods not implemented in BaseEditor. In order to work, every editor class has to implement those methods.


Method called when new instance of editor class is created. That happens at most once per table instance, as all used editors as singletons within table instance. You should use this methods to perform tasks which results can be reused during editor's lifecycle. The most common operation is creating HTML structure of editor.

Method does not need to return any value.


Method should act return the current editor value, that is value that should be saved as a new cell value.

setValue(newValue: Mixed)

Method should set editor value to newValue.

Example Let's say we are implementing a DateEditor, which helps selecting date, by displaying a calendar. getvalue() and setvalue() method could work like so:

class CalendarEditor extends TextEditor {
  constructor(hotInstance) {

  getValue() {
    // returns currently selected date, for example "2023/09/15"
    return calendar.getDate();

  setValue(newValue) {
    // highlights given date on calendar


Displays the editor. In most cases this method can be as simple as:

class CustomEditor extends TextEditor {
  open() { = '';

This method does not need to return any value.


Hides the editor after cell value has been changed. In most cases this method can be as simple as:

class CustomEditor extends TextEditor {
  close() { = 'none';

This method does not need to return any value.


Focuses the editor. This method is called when user wants to close the editor by selecting another cell and the value in editor does not validate (and allowInvalid is false). In most cases this method can be as simple as:

class CustomEditor extends TextEditor {
  focus() {

This method does not need to return any value.

Common editor properties

All the undermentioned properties are available in editor instance through this object (e.g., this.instance).

Property Type Description
instance Handsontable.Core The instance of Handsontable to which this editor object belongs. Set in class constructor, immutable thorough the whole lifecycle of editor.
row Number The active cell row index. Updated on every prepare() method call.
col Number The active cell col index. Updated on every prepare() method call.
prop String The property name associated with active cell (relevant only when data source is an array of objects). Updated on every prepare() method call.
TD HTMLTableCellNode Node object of active cell. Updated on every prepare() method call.
cellProperties Object An object representing active cell properties. Updated on every prepare() method call.

How to create a custom editor?

Now you know the philosophy behind the Handsontable editors and you're ready to write your own editor. Basically, you can build a new editor from scratch, by creating a new editor class, which inherits from BaseEditor, or if you just want to enhance an existing editor, you can extend its class and override only a few of its methods.

In this tutorial we will examine both approaches. We will create a completely new SelectEditor which uses <select> list to alter the value of cell. We will also create a PasswordEditor which works exactly like regular TextEditor except that it displays a password input instead of textarea.

Let's begin with PasswordEditor as it is a bit easier.

PasswordEditor - extending an existing editor

TextEditor is the most complex editor available in Handsontable by default. It displays a <textarea> which automatically changes its size to accommodate its content. We would like to create a PasswordEditor which preserves all those capabilities but displays <input type="password"> field instead of <textarea>.

As you may have guessed, we need to create a new editor class, that inherits from TextEditor and then override some of its methods to replace <textarea> with input:password. Luckily, textarea and password input have the same API, so all we have to do is replace the code responsible for creating HTML elements. If you take a look at TextEditor init() method, you'll notice that it calls internal createElements() method, which creates <textarea> node and append it to DOM during editor initialization - BINGO!

Here is the code

import Handsontable from 'handsontable';

class PasswordEditor extends Handsontable.editors.TextEditor {
  createElements() {

    this.TEXTAREA ='input');
    this.TEXTAREA.setAttribute('type', 'password');
    this.TEXTAREA.setAttribute('data-hot-input', true); // Makes the element recognizable by HOT as its own component's element.
    this.textareaStyle =;
    this.textareaStyle.width = 0;
    this.textareaStyle.height = 0;

    this.TEXTAREA_PARENT.innerText = '';

That's it! You can now use your new editor:

const container = document.querySelector('#container')
const hot = new Handsontable(container, {
  columns: [
      type: 'text'
      editor: PasswordEditor
      // If you want to use string 'password' instead of passing
      // the actual editor class check out section "Registering editor"

Let's try something more complex: we'll build a new editor from the ground up.

SelectEditor - creating editor from scratch

We're going to build a full featured editor, that lets user choose a cell value from predefined list of options, using standard <select> input. As an extra feature, we'll add an ability to change currently selected option with ARROW_UP and ARROW_DOWN keys.

Things to do:

  1. Create a new class that inherits from Handsontable.editors.BaseEditor.
  2. Add function creating <select> input and attaching to DOM.
  3. Add function that populates <select> with options array passed in the cell properties.
  4. Implement methods:
  5. Override the default EditorManager behaviour, so that pressing Arrow Up and Arrow Down keys won't close the editor, but instead change the currently selected value.
  6. Register editor.

Create new editor

That's probably the easiest part. All we have to do is call BaseEditor.prototype.extend() function which will return a new function class that inherits from BaseEditor.

const SelectEditor = Handsontable.editors.BaseEditor.prototype.extend();

Task one: DONE

Create <select> input and attaching it to DOM

There are three potential places where we can put the function that will create <select> element and put it in the DOM:

The key to choose the best solution is to understand when each of those methods are called.

init() method is called during creation of editor class object. That happens at most one per table instance, because once the object is created it is reused every time EditorManager asks for this editor class instance (see Singleton pattern (opens new window) for details).

prepare() method is called every time the user selects a cell that has this particular editor class set as the editor configuration option. So, if we set SelectEditor as editor for an entire column, then selecting any cell in this column will invoke prepare() method of SelectEditor. In other words, this method can be called hundreds of times during table life, especially when working with large data. Another important aspect of prepare() is that it should not display the editor (it's open's job). Displaying editor is triggered by user event such as pressing ENTER, F2 or double clicking a cell, so there is some time between calling prepare() and actually displaying the editor. Nevertheless, operations performed by prepare() should be completed as fast as possible, to provide the best user experience.

open() method is called when editor needs to be displayed. In most cases this method should change the CSS display property to block or perform something similar. User expects that editor will be displayed right after the event (pressing appropriate key or double clicking a cell) has been triggered, so open() method should work as fast as possible.

Knowing all this, the most reasonable place to put the code responsible for creating <select> input is somewhere in init() method. DOM manipulation is considered to be quite expensive (regarding the resource consumption) operation, so it's best to perform it once and reuse the produced HTML nodes throughout the life of editor.

import Handsontable from 'handsontable';

class SelectEditor extends Handsontable.editors.BaseEditor {
   * Initializes editor instance, DOM Element and mount hooks.
  init() {
    // Create detached node, add CSS class and make sure its not visible ='SELECT');'htSelectEditor'); = 'none';

    // Attach node to DOM, by appending it to the container holding the table;
.htSelectEditor {
   * This hack enables to change <select> dimensions in WebKit browsers
  -webkit-appearance: menulist-button !important;
  position: absolute;
  width: auto;
  z-index: 300;

Task two: DONE

Populate <select> with options

In the previous step we implemented a function that creates the <select> input and attaches it to the DOM. You probably noticed that we haven't written any code that would create the <option> elements, therefore if we displayed the list, it would be empty.

We want to be able to define an option list like this:

const container = document.querySelector('#container')
const hot = new Handsontable(container, {
  columns: [
      editor: SelectEditor,
      selectOptions: ['option1', 'option2', 'option3']

There is no (easy) way to get to the value of selectOptions. Even if we could get to this array we could only populate the list with options once, if we do this in the 'init' function. What if we have more than one column using SelectEditor and each of them has it's own option list? It's even possible that two cells in the same column can have different option lists (cascade configuration - remember?) It's clear that we have to find a better place for the code that creates items for our list.

We are left with two places prepare() and open(). The latter one is simpler to implement, but as we previously stated, setvalue() should work as fast as possible and creating <option> nodes and attaching them to DOM might be time consuming, if selectOptions contains long list of options. Therefore, prepare() seems to be a safer place to do this kind of work. The only thing to keep in mind is that we should always invoke BaseEditor's original method when overriding prepare(). BaseEditor.prototype.prepare() sets some important properties, which are used by other editor methods.

// Create options in prepare() method
prepare(row, col, prop, td, originalValue, cellProperties) {
  // Remember to invoke parent's method
  super.prepare(row, col, prop, td, originalValue, cellProperties);

  const selectOptions = this.cellProperties.selectOptions;
  let options;

  if (typeof selectOptions === 'function') {
    options = this.prepareOptions(selectOptions(this.row, this.col, this.prop));
  } else {
    options = this.prepareOptions(selectOptions);
  } = '';

  Object.keys(options).forEach((key) => {
    const optionElement ='OPTION');
    optionElement.value = key;
    optionElement.innerText = options[key];;

Where the prepareOptions is:

prepareOptions(optionsToPrepare) {
  let preparedOptions = {};

  if (Array.isArray(optionsToPrepare)) {
    for (let i = 0, len = optionsToPrepare.length; i < len; i++) {
      preparedOptions[optionsToPrepare[i]] = optionsToPrepare[i];

  } else if (typeof optionsToPrepare === 'object') {
    preparedOptions = optionsToPrepare;

  return preparedOptions;

Task three: DONE

Implement editor specific methods

Most of the work is done. Now we just need to implement all the editor specific methods. Luckily, our editor is quite simple so those methods will be only few lines of code.

getValue() {

setValue(value) { = value;

open() {
  const {
  } = this.getEditedCellRect();
  const selectStyle =;

  this._opened = true;

  selectStyle.height = `${height}px`;
  selectStyle.minWidth = `${width}px`; = `${top}px`;
  selectStyle[ ? 'right' : 'left'] = `${start}px`;
  selectStyle.margin = '0px';
  selectStyle.display = '';

focus() {;

close() {
  this._opened = false; = 'none';

The implementations of getvalue(), setvalue() and close() are self-explanatory, but open() requires a few words of comment. First of all, the implementation assumes that code responsible for populating the list with options is placed in prepare(). Secondly, before displaying the list, we sets its height and min-width so that it matches the size of corresponding cell. It's an optional step, but without it the editor will have different sizes depending on the browser. Probably a good idea would be also to limit the maximum height of <select>. Finally, as the <select> has been appended to the end of the table container, we have to change its position so that it could be displayed above the cell that is being edited. Again, this is an optional step, but it seems quite reasonable to put the editor next to the appropriate cell.

Task four: DONE

At this point we should have an editor that is ready to use. Put the code somewhere in your page and pass SelectEditor class function as value of the editor configuration option.

const container = document.querySelector('#container')
const hot = new Handsontable(container, {
  columns: [
      editor: SelectEditor,
      selectOptions: ['option1', 'option2', 'option3']

Use Arrow Up and Arrow Down to change selected value

We know that our editor works, but let's add one more tweak to it. Currently, when editor is opened and user presses Arrow Up or Arrow Down editor closes and the selection moves one cell up or down. Wouldn't it be nice, if pressing up and down arrow keys changed the currently selected value? User could navigate to the cell, hit Enter, choose the desired value and save changes by hitting Enter again. It would be possible to work with the table without even laying your hand on a mouse. Sounds pretty good, but how to override the default behavior? After all, it's the EditorManager who decides when to close the editor.

Don't worry. Although, you don't have a direct access to EditorManager instance, you can still override its behaviour. Before EditorManager starts to process keyboard events it triggers beforeKeyDown hook. If any of the listening functions invoke stopImmediatePropagation() method on an event object EditorManager won't process this event any further. Therefore, all we have to do is register a beforeKeyDown listener function that checks whether Arrow Up or Arrow Down has been pressed and if so, stops event propagation and changes the currently selected value in <select> list accordingly.

The thing that we need to keep in mind is that our listener should work only, when our editor is opened. We want to preserve the default behaviour for other editors, as well as when no editor is opened. That's why the most reasonable place to register our listener would be the open() method and the close() method should contain code that will remove our listener.

Here's how the listener function could look like:

onBeforeKeyDown() {
  const previousOptionIndex = - 1;
  const nextOptionIndex = + 1;

  switch (event.keyCode) {
    case 38: // Arrow Up
      if (previousOptionIndex >= 0) {[previousOptionIndex].selected = true;


    case 40: // Arrow Down
      if (nextOptionIndex <= - 1){[nextOptionIndex].selected=true;



Active editor is the editor which prepare() method was called most recently. For example, if you select a cell which editor is Handsontable.TextEditor, then getActiveEditor() will return an object of this editor class. If then select a cell (presumably in another column) which editor is Handsontable.DateEditor, the active editor changes and now getActiveEditor() will return an object of DateEditor class.

The rest of the code should be quite clear. Now all we have to do is register our listener.

open() {
  this.addHook('beforeKeyDown', () => this.onBeforeKeyDown());

close() {

Go ahead and test it!

Registering an editor

When you create an editor, a good idea is to assign it an alias that will refer to this particular editor class. Handsontable defines 11 aliases by default:

  • autocomplete for Handsontable.editors.AutocompleteEditor
  • base for Handsontable.editors.BaseEditor
  • checkbox for Handsontable.editors.CheckboxEditor
  • date for Handsontable.editors.DateEditor
  • dropdown for Handsontable.editors.DropdownEditor
  • handsontable for Handsontable.editors.HandsontableEditor
  • numeric for Handsontable.editors.NumericEditor
  • password for Handsontable.editors.PasswordEditor
  • select for Handsontable.editors.SelectEditor
  • text for Handsontable.editors.TextEditor
  • time for Handsontable.editors.TimeEditor

It gives users a convenient way for defining which editor should be use when changing value of certain cells. User doesn't need to know which class is responsible for displaying the editor, he does not even need to know that there is any class at all. What is more, you can change the class associated with an alias without a need to change code that defines a table.

To register your own alias use Handsontable.editors.registerEditor() function. It takes two arguments:

  • editorName - a string representing an editor
  • editorClass - a class that will be represented by editorName

If you'd like to register SelectEditor under alias select you have to call:

Handsontable.editors.registerEditor('select', SelectEditor);

Choose aliases wisely. If you register your editor under name that is already registered, the target class will be overwritten:

Handsontable.editors.registerEditor('text', MyNewTextEditor);

Now 'text' alias points to MyNewTextEditor class, not Handsontable.editors.TextEditor.

So, unless you intentionally want to overwrite an existing alias, try to choose a unique name. A good practice is prefixing your aliases with some custom name (for example your GitHub username) to minimize the possibility of name collisions. This is especially important if you want to publish your editor, because you never know aliases has been registered by the user who uses your editor.

Handsontable.editors.registerEditor('select', SelectEditor);

Someone might already registered such alias.

Handsontable.editors.registerEditor('', SelectEditor);

That's better.

Prepare editor for publication

If you plan to publish your editor or just want to keep your code nice and clean (as we all do 😃 there are 3 simple steps that will help you to organize your code.

Enclose in IIFE

Put your code in a module, to avoid polluting the global namespace. You can use AMD, CommonJS or any other module pattern, but the easiest way to isolate your code is to use plain immediately invoked function expression (IIFE).

(Handsontable => {
  const CustomEditor = Handsontable.editors.BaseEditor.prototype.extend();

  // of the editor code


Passing Handsontable namespace as argument is optional (as it is defined globally), but it's a good practice to use as few global objects as possible, to make modularisation and dependency management easier.

Add editor to dedicated namespace

Code enclosed in IIFE cannot be accessed from outside, unless it's intentionally exposed. To keep things well organized register your editor to the collection of editors using Handsontable.editors.registerEditor method. This way you can use your editor during table definition and other users will have an easy access to your editor, in case they would like to extend it.

(Handsontable => {
  const CustomEditor = Handsontable.editors.BaseEditor.prototype.extend();

  // of the editor code

  // And at the end
  Handsontable.editors.registerEditor('custom', CustomEditor);


From now on, you can use CustomEditor like so:

const container = document.querySelector('#container');
const hot = new Handsontable(container, {
  columns: [{
    editor: Handsontable.editors.CustomEditor

Extending your CustomEditor is also easy.

const AnotherEditor = Handsontable.editors.getEditor('custom').prototype.extend();

Keep in mind, that there are no restrictions to the name you choose, but choose wisely and do not overwrite existing editors. Try to keep the names unique.

Register an alias

The final touch is to register your editor under some alias, so that users can easily refer to it without the need to now the actual class name. See Registering editor for details.

To sum up, a well prepared editor should look like this:

(Handsontable => {
  const CustomEditor = Handsontable.editors.BaseEditor.prototype.extend();

  // of the editor code

  // Put editor in dedicated namespace
  Handsontable.editors.CustomEditor = CustomEditor;

  // Register alias
  Handsontable.editors.registerEditor('theBestEditor', CustomEditor);


From now on, you can use CustomEditor like so:

const container = document.querySelector('#container')
const hot = new Handsontable(container, {
  columns: [{
    editor: 'theBestEditor'

Windows macOS Action Excel Sheets
Arrow keys Arrow keys Move the cursor through the text
Alphanumeric keys Alphanumeric keys Enter the pressed key's value into the cell
Enter Enter Complete the cell entry and move to the cell below
Shift+Enter Shift+Enter Complete the cell entry and move to the cell above
Tab Tab Complete the cell entry and move to the next cell*
Shift+Tab Shift+Tab Complete the cell entry and move to the previous cell*
Delete Delete Delete one character after the cursor*
Backspace Backspace Delete one character before the cursor*
Home Home Move the cursor to the beginning of the text*
End End Move the cursor to the end of the text*
Ctrl + Arrow keys Cmd + Arrow keys Move the cursor to the beginning or to the end of the text
Ctrl+Shift + Arrow keys Cmd+Shift + Arrow keys Extend the selection to the beginning or to the end of the text
Page Up Page Up Complete the cell entry and move one screen up
Page Down Page Down Complete the cell entry and move one screen down
Alt+Enter Option+Enter Insert a line break
Ctrl+Enter Ctrl/Cmd+Enter Insert a line break
Escape Escape Cancel the cell entry and exit the editing mode

* This action depends on your layout direction.