TIL: Focus events include a relatedTarget property

stefanjudis profile image Stefan Judis Originally published at stefanjudis.com on ・1 min read

Today I came across an MDN page describing the relatedTarget property of focus events. blur, focus, focusin, and focusout count as focus events.

It turns out that if you attach a focus event listener the fired event will include not only a target element but also a relatedTarget element.

  .addEventlistener('focus', (event) => {
    // 👆 the element that received focus
    // 👆 the element that lost focus (if any)

The rules for target and relatedTarget in focus events are as follows:

Event name target relatedTarget
focus element receiving focus element loosing focus
blur element loosing focus element receiving focus
focusin element receiving focus element loosing focus
focusout element losing focus element receiving focus

Using relatedTarget, you can figure out what the previously focused element was when a user is "tabbing" around in your interface.

relatedTarget can also be null when there was no previous/next target. This happens, for example, when a button had focus, and the user clicks something that is not focusable.

That's complete news to me! 😲

If you want to play around and see the property in action, I built a quick prototype on CodePen.

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Stefan Judis


DevRel at Contentful. In love with web performance, new technologies, and accessibility – all the good stuff ✌️.


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