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Escape or unescape HTML using JavaScript

Escaping and unescaping HTML is an unavoidable part of web development. In essence, all you have to do to convert text into an HTML-safe string is to replace the characters that have special meaning in HTML with their respective HTML entities. The reverse operation is to replace the HTML entities with their respective characters.

Here's a table of the characters that need to be escaped and their respective HTML entities:

Character HTML Entity
& &
< &lt;
> &gt;
' &#39;
" &quot;

Escape HTML

Using String.prototype.replace() with a regular expression that matches the characters that need to be escaped, you can replace each character instance with its associated escaped character using a dictionary object.

const escapeHTML = str =>
    tag =>
        '&': '&amp;',
        '<': '&lt;',
        '>': '&gt;',
        "'": '&#39;',
        '"': '&quot;'
      }[tag] || tag)

escapeHTML('<a href="#">Me & you</a>');
// '&lt;a href=&quot;#&quot;&gt;Me &amp; you&lt;/a&gt;'

Unescape HTML

Unescaping HTML is the reverse operation of escaping HTML. Again, using String.prototype.replace() with an appropriate regular expression should suffice.

const unescapeHTML = str =>
    tag =>
        '&amp;': '&',
        '&lt;': '<',
        '&gt;': '>',
        '&#39;': "'",
        '&quot;': '"'
      }[tag] || tag)

unescapeHTML('&lt;a href=&quot;#&quot;&gt;Me &amp; you&lt;/a&gt;');
// '<a href="#">Me & you</a>'

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