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How to Differentiate Single and Double Click Events in JavaScript

Jul 26, 2020 2 min read

I needed a way to detect both single and double clicks on my website.

I used both event listeners below:

document.addEventListener("click", handleClick);
document.addEventListener("dblclick", handleClick);

Unfortunately, the dblclick event handler wouldn’t prevent the click event handler from firing, so every double click was preceded by a single click.

In order to fix this, I removed the dblclick handler completely and began checking for double clicks within the click handler.

let numClicks = 0;
const handleClick = () => {
  numClicks++;
  if (numClicks === 1) {
    singleClickTimer = setTimeout(() => {
      numClicks = 0;
      console.log("single click!");
    }, 400);
  } else if (numClicks === 2) {
    clearTimeout(singleClickTimer);
    numClicks = 0;
    console.log("double click!");
  }
};
document.addEventListener("click", handleClick);

numClicks is a global count variable for the number of clicks that have occurred so far.

The first click will always trigger the timer singleClickTimer, which runs for 400ms. If a second click happens within that 400ms, then a double click will be registered, and the timer (as well as the callback) will be cleared.

The downside to this approach is that it will always take 400ms to register a single click event.

We can decrease the 400ms to a smaller number to force single clicks to register faster, but this will also force double clicks to be quicker as well.


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