Building interactive elements with HTML and javascript: Resizing

Unlike draggable, HTML/js does not provide us with a direct spec for allowing users to graphically resize HTML DOM elements. So, we'll be using mouse events and pointer locations to achieve the ability of resizing.

We'll start with a box div.

<div id="box">  
    <div>Resize me !</div>

A little bit of CSS magic to make it look a little bit better and square.

#box {
    position: relative;
    width: 130px;
    height: 130px;
    background-color: #2196F3;
    color: white;
    border-radius: 10px;

Now, we need a handle element. The user will be using this handle element to drag and resize the box.

<div id="box">  
    <div>Resize me !</div>
    <div id="handle">

Now, we just have an invisible div. Let's give it some color, make it square. We also have to position it at one corner of the box.

#handle {
    background-color: #727272;
    width: 10px;
    height: 10px;
    cursor: se-resize;
    right: 0;
    bottom: 0;

The parent div#box has the CSS property position: relative and by setting div#handle the property position:absolute, we have the ability to position the handle absolutely with respect to its parent.

Also, note the cursor: se-resize property. This instructs the browser to set the cursor to the resize cursor () when the user is over it.

Now, it's upto to javascript to take over. ;)

var resizeHandle = document.getElementById('handle');  
var box = document.getElementById('box');  

For resizing, the user would click on the handle and drag it. So, we need to start resizing the moment the user presses and holds on the handle. Let's setup a function to listen for the mousedown event.

resizeHandle.addEventListener('mousedown', initialiseResize, false);  

the initialiseResize function should do two things:

  1. Resize the box every time the mouse pointer moves.
  2. Listen for mouseup event so that the event listeners can be removed as soon as the user is done resizing.
function initialiseResize(e) {  
    window.addEventListener('mousemove', startResizing, false);
    window.addEventListener('mouseup', stopResizing, false);
function startResizing(e) {  
    // Do resize here
function stopResizing(e) {  
    window.removeEventListener('mousemove', startResizing, false);
    window.removeEventListener('mouseup', stopResizing, false);

To resize the box according to the user's mouse pointer movements, we'll be taking the current x and y coordinates of the mouse pointer (in pixels) and change the box's height and width accordingly.

function startResizing(e) { = (e.clientX) + 'px'; = (e.clientY) + 'px';

e.clientX gives the mouse pointer's X coordinate and e.clientY gives the mouse pointer's Y coordinate

Now, this works. But this would only work as expected if the box is placed in the top-left corner of the page. We'll have to compensate for the box's left and top offsets. (position from the left and top edges of the page)

function startResizing(e) { = (e.clientX - box.offsetLeft) + 'px'; = (e.clientY - box.offsetTop) + 'px';

There you go :) We can now resize the box !