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What Is JavaScript String: Useful Methods in a Nutshell

Reading time 6 min
Published Aug 8, 2017
Updated Oct 1, 2019

The data type that contains text is called a JavaScript string. Strings help you manipulate and display text on JavaScript programs. In this tutorial, you'll get the idea on how to write them easily.

You will also learn about string properties and methods, using JavaScript escape quotes or backslashes (if needed) and creating JavaScript multiline strings.

JavaScript Strings: Main Tips

  • Strings are a data type used to store and manipulate text.
  • JavaScript string definition requires the data to be written in quotes (single or double).
  • Even though it's possible, JavaScript strings should not be created as objects. Doing so may complicate the code and slow down its execution.

Strings by Definition

JavaScript string is a data type used to store textual data. Any text written as a function's property value inside quotes is considered to be a string.

JavaScript accepts both single and double quotes. It does not make any difference to execution, speed, or the function at all. Check the example of JavaScript strings in both single and double quotes below:

var name1 = "value1";
var name2 = 'value2';

Quotes may be used inside strings as well, but they have to be different from the quotes that surround the string. For example, if you use double quotes around the string, you must use single quotes inside, and vice versa:

var name1 = "value";
var name2 = "value 'quoted'";
var name3 = 'value "quoted"';

Due to strings having to be written within quotes, the code below will be misinterpreted by JavaScript:

var b = "Our team is called "BitDegree"."

The string shown above is going to be chopped into "Our team is called ". One of the ways of avoiding this problem is using the \ escape character. The backslash turns special characters into string characters, just like in the code example below:

var a = 'It\'s alright.';
var b = "Our team is called \"BitDegree\"."

In this example below, we are using the \' to add a ' to a string:

var exampleVar = "I\'m going to get some snacks";
document.getElementById("eg1").innerHTML = exampleVar;

Remember that \' will become ' and the \" will be included in the string as ". In this example, we are using \":

var exampleVar = "To quote Confucius, \"It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.\"";
document.getElementById("eg1").innerHTML = exampleVar;

Here is a list of special characters you can add using the backslash:

Code Character
\' JavaScript escape quotes (single)
\" JavaScript escape quotes (double)
\\ JavaScript escape backslash
\n JavaScript escape break line
\r JavaScript escape return carriage
\t JavaScript escape tab
\b JavaScript escape backspace
\f JavaScript escape form feed

Breaking Long Strings

For you to easily find the string length JavaScript has a property called length. It returns the number of characters used in a string:

var name = "value";
var stringLength = name.length;

For purposes of readability, programmers tend to avoid lines longer than 80 characters, as it is inconvenient to scroll sideways repeatedly:

document.getElementById("eighty").innerHTML ="Would you believe it if I said this text consists of exactly eighty characters?!";

In case a statement cannot fit into a single line (or the 80 character limit), you should try to break it into a separate line, thus creating a JavaScript multiline string. It is possible to break up a line inside of a string with a single backslash, as in the example below:


document.getElementById("test").innerHTML = "Hello \

Note: keep in mind that this method is not an ECMAScript standard, so it is not supported by all browsers (some don't allow spaces before the backslash).

Code lines, however, cannot be broken up using a backslash. This only works for text (string data):

document.getElementById("hello").innerHTML = \ 
"Hey there.";

A safer, but also a slower way to create a JavaScript multiline string is using string addition:

document.getElementById("hello").innerHTML = "Hey" + 

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Strings as Objects

Normally, strings in JavaScript are only primitive values, created from literals like var name = "value". However, by using the keyword new, they can also be declared as objects - var name = new String("value"):

var a = "Joe";                // typeof a returns string
var b = new String("Joe");    // typeof b returns object

When you use the == comparison operator, these two JavaScript strings look equal:

var a = "Joe";               
var b = new String("Joe");  // (a == b) is true since the values of a and b are equal

Now, when you use the === operator, those same strings are not equal, since the === operator expects both the value and the type to be equal:

var a = "Joe";               
var b = new String("Joe");  // (a === b) is false because the object types of a and b are different

Keep in mind that two objects cannot be compared at all:

var a = new String("Joe");               
var b = new String("Joe");  
// (a == b) is false since since objects cannot be compared
// (a == a) is true since its a single object being compared to itself

Properties and Methods

Primitive values like "word" cannot have methods or properties (they are not objects). Still, in JavaScript, properties and methods can also be used with primitive values, since JavaScript treats them as objects while executing properties and methods.

Have a look at the table with a list of possible properties of JavaScript strings:

Property Description
constructor Return the function that created the string object prototype
length Return JavaScript string length
prototype Allow adding methods and properties to an object

Let's examine the methods table below, too:

Method Description
charAt() Return character at a specified index (position)
charCodeAt() Return the unicode of a character at a specified index
concat() Join single or multiple strings and return a copy of joined strings
fromCharCode() Convert unicode values to characters
indexOf() Return the position of the first found occurrence of the defined text in a string
lastIndexOf() Return the position of the last found occurrence of the specified text in a string
localeCompare() Compare two strings in current locale
match() Search string for a match against the regular expression, and return matches
replace() Search string for value and return new string with the value replaced
search() Search string for value and return the position of the match
slice() Extract part of a string and return a new string
split() Split string into the array of substrings
substr() Extract part of the string starting at a specified index through a specified number of characters
substring() Extract part of the string between two specified positions
toLocaleLowerCase() Convert string to lowercase letters, according to host's locale
toLocaleUpperCase() Convert string to uppercase letters, according to host's locale
toLowerCase() Convert string to lowercase letters
toString() Return the value of the string object
toUpperCase() Convert string to uppercase letters
trim() Remove whitespace from both ends of the string
valueOf() Return primitive value of string object

JavaScript Strings: Summary

  • JavaScript string is a type of data which stores textual data.
  • JavaScript strings can manipulate data in the JavaScript environment.
  • JavaScript escape quotes, slashes, line breaks, etc. can be included using backslash (\) as an escape character.