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Posted 25 May 2011


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Making a jQuery UI DatePicker Read Only

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3.00/5 (2 votes)
25 May 2011CPOL2 min read
Block any way for the user to change the textbox value in the DatePicker, either from the calendar popup or by direct input on the textbox.

To make this post clear, by ReadOnly I mean really read only, no input allowed whatsoever.

DatePicker Default Behavior

This one seemed easy at first but it isn't just because by design, setting the input textbox to readonly, the widget will understand it as if we just wanted to limit the user to choose a date from the popup, disallowing any input text.

What I want here is to block any way for the user to change the textbox value, either from the calendar popup or by direct input on the textbox.

Option 1: Disable Textbox

The goodThe bad
Works!Grays out the control to make it look disabled

This would be a quick solution by just disabling the textbox but it kind of shades the control, and I want it to display its value with the same appearance as the other textboxes. Not approved!

Option 2: Bend the Control

This DatePicker widget has a lot of options, we just have to find a way to use them in our favor to achieve this "unsupported" behavior.

<input type="text" id="txtDate" readonly="readonly" />
<script type="text/javascript">
$(document).ready(function () {
        beforeShow: function (input, inst) 
        { inst.dpDiv = $('<div style="display: none;"></div>'); }

If you want to be able to toggle between editable and readonly modes, you'll need a couple more lines of code:

<input type="text" id="txtDate" readonly="readonly" />
<script type="text/javascript">
$(document).ready(function () {
         beforeShow: function (input, inst) 
              if($(input).attr('readonly') !== undefined ) {
                  if(inst.o_dpDiv === undefined) {
                      inst.o_dpDiv = inst.dpDiv;
                  inst.dpDiv = $('<div style="display: none;"></div>');
              } else {
                  if(inst.o_dpDiv !== undefined) {
                      inst.dpDiv = inst.o_dpDiv;

Here's a live demo, courtesy of commenter:

What did I do?

On the textbox, you can see that I made it read-only, but as I said, this alone still lets the user change the date from the calendar popup. To block the calendar popup, I'm replacing it with an empty DIV element, and to avoid unhandled complications, I'm styling it as display: none.

With this workaround, the DatePicker still thinks it is showing the popup but in fact nothing happens.

This is kind of tricky but is pretty easy to do and works very well on all browsers.

My Recommendation to the jQuery UI Team

This would be so much easier if we need only pass something like: showOn: "never".

This article was originally posted at


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Switzerland Switzerland
Senior IT Consultant working in Switzerland as Senior Software Engineer.

Find more at on my blog.

Comments and Discussions

QuestionChanging value for readonly Pin
Sreejith Kulamgarath17-May-15 19:43
MemberSreejith Kulamgarath17-May-15 19:43 
AnswerRe: Changing value for readonly Pin
AlexCode18-May-15 11:50
professionalAlexCode18-May-15 11:50 
GeneralMy vote of 4 Pin
John B Oliver15-Jun-11 12:12
MemberJohn B Oliver15-Jun-11 12:12 
GeneralWhy? Pin
Richard Deeming31-May-11 3:59
mveRichard Deeming31-May-11 3:59 
Why would you want to add a date picker to a textbox and then prevent that date picker from doing anything? Confused | :confused:

"These people looked deep within my soul and assigned me a number based on the order in which I joined."
- Homer

GeneralRe: Why? Pin
AlexCode31-May-11 5:25
professionalAlexCode31-May-11 5:25 

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