Turgs Turgs - 11 months ago 37
HTML Question

How can I find each table cell's "visual location" using jQuery?

I have a HTML table that contains both ROWSPANs and COLSPANs.

How can I find each cell's "visual location" using jQuery?

For example, here's a visual representation of my table with each cell populated with what the "visual location" algorithm should return:

(Note: I only really care about cells within the

and the column reference can be an integer, not an alphabetic character, I've only done this to easily highlight the problem)

| |A |B |C |D |
|1 |A1|B1 |D1|
+--+--+--+--+ +
|2 |A2 |C2| |
+--+ +--+ +
|3 | |C3| |
|4 |A4|B4|C4|D4|
|XYZ |

I've tried implementing the first, however the reference for cell C3 is inaccurate as it doesn't take into account ROWSPANS. The second link may be able to be merged into the solution of the first, but I can't figure out how.

I'm hoping to use this as a function called
that will return an associative array that returns the location something like this:

function getCellLocation(cell)
var row_number = parseInt($(cell).parent().prevAll().length) + 1;
var col_number = 1;
$(cell).prevAll('td').each(function() {
col_number += $(this).attr('colspan') ? parseInt($(this).attr('colspan')) : 1;

var location = new Array();
location['row'] = row_number;
location['col'] = col_number;
location['index'] = $('td').index(cell) + 1;
return location;

$('table td').each(function(i){
var cell = getCellLocation($(this));
$(this).prepend('<span class="ref">R' + cell['row'] + ':C' + cell['col'] + ':D' + cell['index'] + '</span>');

Here's the HTML of the example table:

<table border="1" cellspacing="0">
<td colspan="2">B1</td>
<td rowspan="3">D1</td>
<td rowspan="2" colspan="2">A2</td>
<td colspan="5">XYZ</td>
<style> span { background-color: #ffc; margin-right: .5em;} </style>

Answer Source

Here's my solution:

function getCellLocation(cell) {

    var cols = cell.closest("tr").children("td").index(cell);
    var rows = cell.closest("tbody").children("tr").index(cell.closest("tr"));
    var coltemp = cols;
    var rowtemp = rows;

    cell.prevAll("td").each(function() {
        cols += ($(this).attr("colspan")) ? parseInt($(this).attr("colspan")) - 1 : 0;

    cell.parent("tr").prevAll("tr").each(function() {
        //get row index for search cells
        var rowindex = cell.closest("tbody").children("tr").index($(this));
        // assign the row to a variable for later use
        var row = $(this);
        row.children("td").each(function() {
            // fetch all cells of this row
            var colindex = row.children("td").index($(this));
            //check if this cell comes before our cell
            if (cell.offset().left > $(this).offset().left) {
                // check if it has both rowspan and colspan, because the single ones are handled before
                var colspn = parseInt($(this).attr("colspan"));
                var rowspn = parseInt($(this).attr("rowspan"));
                if (colspn && rowspn) {
                    if(rowindex + rowspn > rows)
                    cols += colspn;                    
                if(rowspn && rowindex + rowspn > rows) cols +=1;


I'm checking for cells which have both colspan and rowspan, because the rest are handled by the first five lines of this code. If the cells have both rowspan and colspan, they should be effecting other cells that are not below OR aside this cell, so I need to search for every cell's previous cells for interaction.