5 ReactJS Copy to Clipboard Ways: Copy That!

Reactjs Copy to Clipboard: Allowing users to copy key text or data is an incredibly useful utility in web apps. Whether it’s copying an error code, markdown syntax or a code snippet, implementing clipboard copy can seriously boost productivity.

But how do you actually enable this in React apps? The core React library doesn’t include clipboard capabilities.

Fortunately, there are several great options for adding copy to clipboard functionality in React. From simple hooks to robust libraries, we’ll compare 5 top methods to upgrade your React app with clipboard copying powers.

By the end, you’ll be able to implement fast, foolproof copying of text in React – no Flash required! Let’s dive in.

Why Clipboard Copying in React is Useful

Before we get into the how-to, let’s briefly cover why you’d want to add clipboard copying capabilities in a React app:

  • Improved productivity – enables rapid copying of key snippets, errors or text
  • Usability – users often expect to be able to copy text with one click
  • Accessibility – copying text is easier than manual transcription for some users
  • Flexibility – copy anything from JSON to code snippets to editor selections
  • Robustness – native browser clipboard implementation is reliable

Implementing clipboard copying seems like a small enhancement, but delivers significant productivity and usability wins. Users will thank you for it!

Now let’s look at 5 proven techniques to enable clipboard copying in React apps.

1. The useClipboard Hook

For simple copying needs, React hooks open powerful possibilities. The useClipboard hook allows copying text to clipboard with a single line of code.

Here’s an example component usage:

import {useClipboard} from 'use-clipboard-copy';

function CopyComponent() {

  const clipboard = useClipboard();
  
  const copyText = () => {
    clipboard.copy('Text to copy');
  }

  return (
    <button onClick={copyText}>Copy to Clipboard</button>  
  );

}

The hook provides a simple copy method to programmatically copy text.

Behind the scenes, it leverages the native navigator.clipboard.writeText browser API where supported and falls back to older IE versions using document.execCommand.

Pros:

  • Simple, lightweight API
  • Handles cross-browser support
  • Actively maintained

Cons:

  • Only copies text strings
  • Less control compared to libraries

For basic text copying needs, useClipboard is wonderfully simple.

2. The React Clipboard.js Library

For more customization and control, dedicated React clipboard libraries like Clipboard.js are a great option.

It provides a collection of React components like <CopyToClipboard> to programmatically trigger copying.

Here’s an example:

import {CopyToClipboard} from 'react-clipboard.js';

function CopyComponent() {

  return (
    <CopyToClipboard text={'Text to copy'}>
      <button>Copy to clipboard</button>
    </CopyToClipboard>
  )

}

You can customize copying behavior by passing different props to the components. For example, use the onCopy callback to react to successful copy events.

Pros:

  • Components offer fine-grained control
  • Actively maintained
  • Escape HTML characters

Cons:

  • Slightly more cumbersome API
  • Requires import of external library

For robust implementations, Clipboard.js is full-featured React clipboard library.

3. The React Copy to Clipboard Component

An alternative React component for copying is creatively titled react-copy-to-clipboard.

It follows a similar component-based approach to Clipboard.js:

import {CopyToClipboard} from 'react-copy-to-clipboard';

function CopyComponent() {

  return (
    <CopyToClipboard text={'Text to copy'}>
       <button>Copy to clipboard</button>
    </CopyToClipboard>
  )

}

You pass the desired text to copy as a prop. It supports change callbacks and additional options like clearing text on copy.

Pros:

  • Simple API
  • Lightweight at 2kb
  • Actively maintained

Cons:

  • Less robust than Clipboard.js
  • Fewer selective customization options

Overall, it’s a solid component for basic copy implementations.

4. Using document.execCommand

This older clipboard copying approach works across browsers by executing the document.execCommand('copy') method.

For example:

function copyToClipboard(text) {
  const textField = document.createElement('textarea')
  textField.innerText = text
  document.body.appendChild(textField)
  textField.select()
  document.execCommand('copy')
  textField.remove()
}

function CopyComponent({text}) {

  const copyText = () => {
    copyToClipboard(text);
  }

  return (
    <button onClick={copyText}>Copy to Clipboard</button>
  )

}

A temporary textarea is used to capture the selection. The execCommand method then copies it to the clipboard.

Pros:

  • Simple vanilla JS approach
  • No external dependencies
  • Wide browser support

Cons:

  • More verbose implementation
  • Security restrictions on some browsers
  • Only copies text

It’s a quick way to enable clipboard copying, but lacks robustness.

5. Using the Clipboard API

For newer browsers, the asynchronous Clipboard API provides improved copying directly to the system clipboard.

Here’s a React usage example:

async function copyToClipboard(text) {

  if (!navigator.clipboard) {
    // Fallback to old execCommand method
    return; 
  }

  try {
    await navigator.clipboard.writeText(text);
    console.log('Copied to clipboard successfully!');
  } catch(err) {
    console.error('Failed to copy text: ', err);
  }

}

function CopyComponent({text}) {

  const copyText = () => {
    copyToClipboard(text)
  }

  return ( 
   <button onClick={copyText}>Copy to Clipboard</button>
  )

}

We first check if the Clipboard API is supported before using writeText.

Pros:

  • Asynchronous, promise-based
  • More security isolations
  • Active development

Cons:

  • Limited browser support
  • Slightly more complex

Overall it’s the most robust API-based approach on supported browsers.

Key Considerations When Copying Text in React

Now that we’ve covered a variety of implementation options, here are some key factors to consider:

  • Cross-browser support – Use feature detection to check API support
  • Async vs sync – Clipboard API requires async await, while execCommand is synchronous
  • Security – APIs like Clipboard help isolate copied content in sandbox
  • Formatting – Escape special characters if copying HTML or markdown
  • User experience – Indicate success/failure of copy action to user

Choosing the right copying technique depends on your specific app and use case. For wide browser support, hooks like useClipboard work great. For more control, reach for a library like Clipboard.js.

The Clipboard API offers the most web-native implementation on modern browsers. And document.execCommand still fills gaps on older ones.

Copy That! Enabling Clipboard Copying in React Apps

And that wraps up our guide to implementing clipboard copying in React!

Here’s a quick summary of the 5 approaches we covered:

  • useClipboard hook – Simple, lightweight hook for basic text copy
  • Clipboard.js – Robust React library with custom components
  • react-copy-to-clipboard – Straightforward copy component
  • document.execCommand – Browser-supported imperative API
  • Clipboard API – Modern asynchronous API (limited browser support)

Adding copy to clipboard functionality can seriously improve productivity and UX. Thanks to the various techniques above, you can now equip your React app to empower users to copy important snippets and content with ease.

So try out a few options and see which best fits your needs. Your users will thank you for the time and frustration you’ll save them! Copy on!

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