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Show a ghost element when dragging an element

Written byPhuoc Nguyen
31 Mar, 2020
Level 2 — Intermediate
Assume that we have a draggable element:
<div draggable="true" class="draggable">Drag me</div>
Using the `draggable` attribute lets the browser know that the element can be dragged around. By default, the browser will show a ghost element created from the original element when it is being dragged.
We can customize the ghost element:
// Query the element
const ele = document.getElementById('dragMe');

// The ghost element
let ghostEle;

ele.addEventListener('dragstart', function (e) {
// Create the ghost element
ghostEle = document.createElement('div');
ghostEle.innerHTML = 'I am flying';

// Append it to `body`

// Customize the drag image
e.dataTransfer.setDragImage(ghostEle, 0, 0);
It's worth noting that the ghost element should be removed from the page when users drag the element:
ele.addEventListener('dragend', function (e) {
In the sample code above, the ghost element is created and removed on the fly. However, it's also possible to use an existing element:
<div draggable="true" class="draggable">Drag me</div>
<div id="ghost" class="dragging">I am flying</div>
The event handler doesn't change much:
const ghostEle = document.getElementById('ghost');

ele.addEventListener('dragstart', function (e) {
e.dataTransfer.setDragImage(ghostEle, 0, 0);


See also

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