Saving contenteditable Content Changes as JSON with Ajax

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Chris Coyier on (Updated on )

Elements with the contenteditable attribute can be live-edited right in the browser window. But of course those changes don’t affect the actual document on your server, so those changes don’t persist with a page refresh.

One way to save the data would be to wait for the return key to be pressed, which triggers then sends the new innerHTML of the element as an Ajax call and blurs the element. Pressing escape returns the element to it’s pre-edited state.

document.addEventListener('keydown', function (event) {
  var esc = event.which == 27,
      nl = event.which == 13,
      el =,
      input = el.nodeName != 'INPUT' && el.nodeName != 'TEXTAREA',
      data = {};

  if (input) {
    if (esc) {
      // restore state
    } else if (nl) {
      // save
      data[el.getAttribute('data-name')] = el.innerHTML;

      // we could send an ajax request to update the field
        url: window.location.toString(),
        data: data,
        type: 'post'

}, true);

function log(s) {
  document.getElementById('debug').innerHTML = 'value changed to: ' + s;

See the Pen Contenteditable / Save with JSON/Ajax by Chris Coyier (@chriscoyier) on CodePen.