jQuery How do i apply CSS to selected text

Tags: javascript,jquery,css

Problem :

I'm trying to apply CSS to selected text. I tried the following and it doesn't work. I'm using Firefox.

savedRange = selection.getRangeAt(0);
$(savedRange).wrap('<span style="color:red"></span>');

I also tried

savedRange = selection.getRangeAt(0);
$(savedRange).css('color', 'red');

I can do this with contentEditable using execcommand, but execcommand applies html tags rather then inline styles. ex: <font/> instead of style="font..". I need to apply inline style and not deprecated html tags. I would like to use the jQuery css() property to apply styles.

Solution :

I'd recommend the CSS class applier module of my Rangy library for this. It works in all major browsers and for any selection. It will also toggle CSS classes on and off.

Here's an example from another question: How do I wrap a text selection from window.getSelection().getRangeAt(0) with an html tag?


<style type="text/css">
    span.red {
        color: red;
<script type="text/javascript">
    var redApplier;

    window.onload = function() {
        redApplier = rangy.createCssClassApplier("red", true);

    function makeSelectionRed() {


If using classes isn't an option, you could still use a variation on this, although it's slightly roundabout: you could use Rangy to apply a class, and then use jQuery to find spans with this class and add your CSS to each. Here's an example:

function makeSelectionRed() {
    var randomCssClass = "rangyTemp_" + (+new Date());
    var classApplier = rangy.createCssClassApplier(randomCssClass, true);

    // Now use jQuery to add the CSS colour and remove the class
    $("." + randomCssClass).css({"color": "red"}).removeClass(randomCssClass);

jsFiddle: http://jsfiddle.net/z2mdw/2/

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