Martin Martin - 2 months ago 25
jQuery Question

jQuery - Get Width of Element when Not Visible (Display: None)

It seems like in jQuery when an element is not visible width() returns 0. Makes sense, but I need to get the width of a table in order to set the width of the parent before I show the parent.

As noted below, there is text in the parent, that makes the parent skew and look nasty. I want the parent to be only as wide as the table and have the text wrap.

<div id="parent">
Text here ... Can get very long and skew the parent
<table> ... </table>
Text here too ... which is why I want to shrink the parent based on the table


display: none;


var tableWidth = $('#parent').children('table').outerWidth();
if (tableWidth > $('#parent').width())
$('#parent').width() = tableWidth;

tableWidth always returns 0 since it is not visible (is my guess since it gives me a number when visible). Is there a way to get the width of the table without making the parent visible?


Here is a trick I have used. It involves adding some CSS properties to make jQuery think the element is visible, but in fact it is still hidden.

var $table = $("#parent").children("table");
$table.css({ position: "absolute", visibility: "hidden", display: "block" });
var tableWidth = $table.outerWidth();
$table.css({ position: "", visibility: "", display: "" });

It is kind of a hack, but it seems to work fine for me.


I have since written a blog post that covers this topic. The method used above has the potential to be problematic since you are resetting the CSS properties to empty values. What if they had values previously? The updated solution uses the swap() method that was found in the jQuery source code.