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currentTarget vs target

Written byPhuoc Nguyen
24 Jun, 2020
Last updated
04 Sep, 2020
`currentTarget` and `target` are properties of the event object when we listen to a particular event, for example:
element.addEventListener('click', function (e) {
// `currentTarget` and `target` are `e`'s properties


`currentTarget` is the element that the event was bound to. It never changes. In the sample code above, `e.currentTarget` is the element.
`target` is the element user clicked on, in the case of `click` event. It can be the original element or any of its children depending on where user clicks on exactly.

Use case

Here is an use case that demonstrates the usage of both properties.
Assume that we have a modal shown at the center of screen. The modal is placed inside an overlay which takes the full size of screen.
The markup is pretty simple as below:
<!-- Overlay -->
<div id="overlay">
<!-- Modal content -->
<div id="modal">...</div>
It's a common experience for user to close the modal when clicking the overlay. There are two approaches to do that, but first, we need to query the modal and overlay elements:
const overlay = document.getElementById('overlay');
const modal = document.getElementById('modal');
First approach: We close the modal when user clicks the overlay:
overlay.addEventListener('click', function () {
console.log('Close the modal');
What happen if user clicks inside the modal? We don't want the event to bubble up to the parent element (which is overlay), hence the `stopPropagation` method is called:
modal.addEventListener('click', function (e) {
Second approach: To ensure that user clicks the overlay area and not inside the modal, we can simply check if both the `currentTarget` and `target` properties refer to the same element:
overlay.addEventListener('click', function (e) {
if (e.currentTarget === e.target) {
console.log('Close the modal');
The second approach is much simpler than the first, and it doesn't require to handle the `click` event of the modal.

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Phước Nguyễn