Complex Inline Styles

Within your editor, you may wish to provide a wide variety of inline style behavior that goes well beyond the bold/italic/underline basics. For instance, you may want to support variety with color, font families, font sizes, and more. Further, your desired styles may overlap or be mutually exclusive.

The Rich Editor and Colorful Editor examples demonstrate complex inline style behavior in action.


Within the Draft model, inline styles are represented at the character level, using an immutable OrderedSet to define the list of styles to be applied to each character. These styles are identified by string. (See CharacterMetadata for details.)

For example, consider the text "Hello world". The first six characters of the string are represented by the empty set, OrderedSet(). The final five characters are represented by OrderedSet.of('BOLD'). For convenience, we can think of these OrderedSet objects as arrays, though in reality we aggressively reuse identical immutable objects.

In essence, our styles are:

[], // H
[], // e
// ...
['BOLD'], // w
['BOLD'], // o
// etc.

Overlapping Styles

Now let's say that we wish to make the middle range of characters italic as well: Hello world. This operation can be performed via the Modifier API.

The end result will accommodate the overlap by including 'ITALIC' in the relevant OrderedSet objects as well.

[], // H
[], // e
['ITALIC'], // l
// ...
['BOLD', 'ITALIC'], // w
['BOLD', 'ITALIC'], // o
['BOLD'], // r
// etc.

When determining how to render inline-styled text, Draft will identify contiguous ranges of identically styled characters and render those characters together in styled span nodes.

Mapping a style string to CSS

By default, Editor provides support for a basic list of inline styles: 'BOLD', 'ITALIC', 'UNDERLINE', and 'CODE'. These are mapped to plain CSS style objects, which are used to apply styles to the relevant ranges.

For your editor, you may define custom style strings to include with these defaults, or you may override the default style objects for the basic styles.

Within your Editor use case, you may provide the customStyleMap prop to define your style objects. (See Colorful Editor for a live example.)

For example, you may want to add a 'STRIKETHROUGH' style. To do so, define a custom style map:

import {Editor} from 'draft-js';
const styleMap = {
textDecoration: 'line-through',
class MyEditor extends React.Component {
// ...
render() {
return (

When rendered, the textDecoration: line-through style will be applied to all character ranges with the STRIKETHROUGH style.

Last updated on by Yangshun Tay