Highlight Keywords on Page with jQuery

By Hawkee on Feb 21, 2013

This will take a string of keywords and wrap a highlight span around each word. It takes two inputs: keywords and element:

keywords: The keywords to be highlighted.
element: Where we are looking for the keywords. This element can be a repeated element.

function highlight_words(keywords, element) {
    if(keywords) {
        var textNodes;
        keywords = keywords.replace(/\W/g, '');
        var str = keywords.split(" ");
        $(str).each(function() {
            var term = this;
            var textNodes = $(element).contents().filter(function() { return this.nodeType === 3 });
            textNodes.each(function() {
              var content = $(this).text();
              var regex = new RegExp(term, "gi");
              content = content.replace(regex, '<span class="highlight">' + term + '</span>');

You can simply bold the keywords or do what you'd like with this CSS:

.highlight {
    font-weight: bold;

We use this here at Hawkee.com for our search function.


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sean   -  May 22, 2013

Great snippet! However, I might have made this a jQuery plugin instead (since we're in the jQuery section :P). This way you could chain the element while offering other (future) parameters. Consider the following implementation:

  words: ['keyword1', 'keyword2'],
  effect: 'fadeIn'

Is there a reason you decided against that route?

Hawkee  -  May 22, 2013

Good idea! It was really just a quick feature-add, so I didn't flesh it out as much as you suggested. I might just do that if I come back around to working on this again.

diegotucholga  -  Mar 30, 2016

No need for this function anymore. There's a plugin with much more options: mark.js
(Github: https://github.com/julmot/mark.js)

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