November 27, 2023
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The JavaScript language, along with HTML and CSS, has long served as the foundation for web interactivity. Manipulating text strings is a fundamental aspect of JavaScript programming. This comprehensive guide will navigate you through the various methods of formatting strings in JavaScript, from basic concatenation to advanced interpolation techniques.

In the early days of JavaScript, developers relied on the “+” operator to combine or concatenate strings. This approach was straightforward and allowed for easy combination of variables and string literals. However, as JavaScript evolved, new techniques emerged, offering greater flexibility and efficiency in string manipulation. In this article, we will explore these advanced string formatting options provided by modern JavaScript. By mastering these techniques, you’ll be able to write cleaner, more concise code. So, let’s dive in and uncover the powerful capabilities of string formatting in JavaScript.

Consider the following example:

var greet = "Hello";
var name = "World";
var message = greet + ", " + name + "!";
console.log(message); // "Hello, World!"

Despite its simplicity, concatenation with the “+” operator quickly becomes cumbersome when mixing variables and literals, resulting in error-prone and hard-to-read code. This limitation paved the way for more efficient methods of string formatting.

Template Literals

JavaScript template literals use back-ticks (`) as delimiters instead of traditional single (‘ ‘) or double (” “) quotes. Here is a simple example:

let name = "Alice";
console.log(`Hello, ${name}!`); // "Hello, Alice!"

With this simple notation, the variable name is interpolated into the string, resulting in “Hello, Alice!”. Notice the use of ${} to enclose the JavaScript expression.

String Interpolation

One of the most significant benefits of template literals is string interpolation. This feature allows developers to embed expressions (including but not limited to variables) within their strings. These expressions can be anything valid in JavaScript, such as operations, function calls, or other strings. Here’s an example:

let apples = 5;
let oranges = 10;
console.log(`If you have ${apples} apples and ${oranges} oranges, you have ${apples + oranges} fruits in total.`);
// "If you have 5 apples and 10 oranges, you have 15 fruits in total."

Multiline Strings

Before template literals, writing multiline strings was a bit of a chore in JavaScript. You would have to use the newline character (\n) or concatenate multiple strings using the + operator. With template literals, multiline strings become much more manageable:

let multiLine = `This is a line.
And this is another one.
This is yet another line.`;

When you run this code, it will log a three-line string, exactly as it appears between the back-ticks.

Beyond simple string formatting, template literals also provide more advanced features that make them incredibly powerful tools.

Expressions and Function Calls

You can include any valid JavaScript expression within the ${} syntax. This could be a mathematical operation, a function call, or even a ternary operator. JavaScript will evaluate these expressions and convert the result to a string. Consider the following examples:

let a = 5;
let b = 10;
console.log(`Five plus ten equals ${a + b}, not ${2 * (a + b)}.`);
// "Five plus ten equals 15, not 30."

function greet(name) {
  return `Hello, ${name}!`;

console.log(`The function says: '${greet("Alice")}'`);
// "The function says: 'Hello, Alice!'"

Tagged Templates

Tagged templates are a more advanced use of template literals. They allow you to parse template literals with a function. The first argument of the function contains an array of string values. The remaining arguments are related to the expressions. Consider this example:

function myTag(strings, personExp, ageExp) {
  let str0 = strings[0]; // "That "
  let str1 = strings[1]; // " is a "

  let ageStr;
  if (ageExp > 99){
    ageStr = 'centenarian';
  } else {
    ageStr = 'youngster';

  return str0 + personExp + str1 + ageStr;

let person = 'Mike';
let age = 28;

let output = myTag`That ${person} is a ${age}`;

console.log(output); // "That Mike is a youngster"

Here, myTag is a tag function for the template literal. The JavaScript engine invokes it for processing the template.

While template literals provide superior readability and ease of use, it is essential to be aware of compatibility and performance considerations. As a feature of ES6, template literals are not natively supported in Internet Explorer or older versions of other browsers. When writing JavaScript intended to run in these environments, it may be necessary to transpile your code using a tool like Babel.

Performance-wise, the differences between template literals and traditional concatenation are negligible for most use cases. However, in performance-critical applications, it’s worth noting that template literals can be slightly slower due to the overhead of parsing the expressions.

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Escape Sequences

Escape sequences are used in programming languages like JavaScript to include special characters in strings. They are denoted with a backslash () followed by the character you want to insert. Here are the most common escape sequences in JavaScript:

Single Quote (‘)

The escape sequence ‘ is used to insert a single quote within a string.

let str = 'It\'s raining today.';
console.log(str); // Output: It's raining today.

Double Quote (“)

The escape sequence ” is used to insert a double quote within a string.

let str = "He said, \"Hello!\"";
console.log(str); // Output: He said, "Hello!"

Backslash (\)

The escape sequence \ is used to insert a backslash within a string.

let str = "This is a backslash: \";
console.log(str); // Output: This is a backslash: \

Newline (\n)

The escape sequence \n is used to insert a newline character in a string. It is commonly used to create line breaks.

let str = "Line 1\nLine 2";
console.log(str); // Output:
                  // Line 1
                  // Line 2

Carriage Return (\r)

The escape sequence \r is used to insert a carriage return character. It moves the cursor to the beginning of the current line without advancing to the next line.

let str = "Hello\rWorld!";
console.log(str); // Output: World!

Tab (\t)

The escape sequence \t is used to insert a tab character. It creates horizontal spacing, similar to the Tab key on a keyboard.

let str = "Name:\tJohn";
console.log(str); // Output: Name:    John

By using escape sequences, you can include special characters or control characters in your strings, allowing for greater flexibility in your JavaScript code.

String Methods

JavaScript offers a variety of methods for string manipulation. Some of the most widely used methods are described below.


The concat() method is used to concatenate two or more strings together. It takes multiple string arguments and returns a new string that combines all the input strings.

let str1 = "Hello";
let str2 = "World";
console.log(str1.concat(' ', str2)); // Output: "Hello World"

In the above example, the concat() method is used to concatenate the strings str1 and str2 with a space in between.


The slice() method extracts a section of a string and returns it as a new string. It takes two arguments: the starting index and the ending index (exclusive) of the section to be extracted.

let str = "Hello, World!";
console.log(str.slice(7, 12)); // Output: "World"

In the above example, the slice() method is used to extract the substring “World” from the original string starting from index 7 and ending at index 12 (exclusive).


The replace() method is used to replace a specified value with another value in a string. It takes two arguments: the value to be replaced and the new value. Only the first occurrence of the specified value is replaced.

let str = "Hello, World!";
console.log(str.replace("World", "JavaScript")); // Output: "Hello, JavaScript!"

In the above example, the replace() method is used to replace the substring “World” with “JavaScript” in the original string.


Mastering string formatting in JavaScript is essential for simplifying text manipulation in your code. While the “+” operator was traditionally used for concatenation, it quickly became cumbersome and error-prone. The introduction of template literals revolutionized string formatting by providing a more efficient and flexible approach. Template literals allow for string interpolation, enabling the embedding of expressions and variables directly within the string. They also facilitate the creation of multiline strings and offer advanced features like tagged templates.

However, it’s important to consider compatibility and performance implications when using template literals, as they may require transpilation for older browsers and can have a slightly higher parsing overhead. Additionally, escape sequences are useful for including special characters in strings, and JavaScript provides various string methods like concat(), slice(), and replace() for further string manipulation.


Can I use template literals in all browsers?

While most modern browsers support template literals, Internet Explorer does not. If you need to support older browsers, you may have to use Babel or a similar tool to compile your JavaScript to an older version.

Is string concatenation using “+” still used?

Yes, although template literals offer a more robust and flexible way to format strings, the “+” operator is still used in JavaScript, especially for simple concatenations and in older codebases.

Can I use a string method directly after a string literal?

Yes, JavaScript allows string methods to be used directly after string literals:

console.log(“Hello, World!”.replace(“World”, “JavaScript”)); // “Hello, JavaScript!”

What if I want to use a backtick in a template literal?

You can use a backtick within a template literal by preceding it with a backslash (“`):
console.log(`This is a backtick: \“); // “This is a backtick: `”