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A Guide to Vue $emit - How to Emit Custom Events in Vue

Last Updated on Jun 18, 2022

Many Vue patterns involve passing data from a parent component to its children using props. But what if we need a child to affect its parent?

Using emit, we can trigger events and pass data up the component heirarchy. This is useful for things like:

  • emitting data from an input
  • closing modals from inside the modal itself
  • making our parent component respond to one of its children

How does Vue Emit Work?

When we emit an event, we invoke a method with one or more arguments:

  • eventName: string – the name of our event. Our parent component will listen for this.
  • values: any – any value(s) that we want to pass with our event

Here’s an example of an inline emit, <button @click="$emit('add', Math.random())">. We are emitting an event called add and passing it a value of Math.random()

Then, using the v-on or @ directive, a parent component can listen to our custom add event and receive the value.

<template>  <button @click="$emit('add', Math.random())">    Add Math.random()  </button></template>
<script setup>import { ref } from 'vue'const count = ref(0)// can also call a function from our template `<ChildComponent @add="add" />`// const add = (i) => count.value += i</script><template>  <ChildComponent @add="(i) => count += i" />   <p>Count: {{ count }}</p></template>

Start clicking ⬇️

We can send data up from Child.vue

Inline Emit Demo

Every time we click our button, Child.vue emits an event called add with a random value between 0 and 1. Then, Parent.vue captures this event and adds that value to count

We can pass as many arguments as we want and our listener will receive all of them.

  • Child - $emit('add', Math.random(), 44, 50)
  • Parent - @add="(i, j, k) => count += i + j + k"

So now, we know how to emit inline events in our template, but in more complicated examples, it's better if we emit an event from the script section of our SFC instead. This is useful when we want to perform some logic before emitting an event.

In Vue 3, we have 2 different ways to do this:

  • Options API – this.$emit
  • Composition API with setup() – context.emit
  • Composition API with <script setup> - defineEmits()

Let’s check out an example for each.

this.$emit Options API

Like most things in Vue 3, we have the choice of using the Options API or the Composition API.

In the Options API, we can call this.$emit to emit a custom event.

Let's take a look at an example where we have MyTextInput.vue that contains a label and a text input. Whenever the text changes, we want to emit an event with the uppercased value of our input.

Instead of calling $emit from our template, we can call a component method instead. Inside, we can call this.$emit and pass it our value.

<script>  export default {      methods: {          handleChange (event) {              this.$emit("customChange", event.target.value.toUpperCase())          }      }  }</script><template>  <div>    <label>My Custom Input</label>    <input type="text" placeholder="Custom input!" @input="handleChange" />  </div></template>
<script>  export default {    data() {      return {        uppercase: ''      }    },    methods: {        handleCustomChange (s) {          this.uppercase = s        }    }  }</script><template>  <my-text-input @custom-change="handleCustomChange" />   <p>Uppercase: {{ uppercase }}</p></template>

Try it out

Type around and emit events

Options API Demo

While this is a simple example, bringing this logic outside of our component gives us easier access to other properties in our data and helps keep our logic organized in larger files.

Emitting Events with setup()

In the Composition API, if we use the setup function, we don't have access to our component with this - meaning we can't call this.$emit() to send our event.

Instead, we can access our emit method by using the second argument of our setup function – context.

context has access to your components slots, attributes, and most importantly for us, its emit method.

We can call context.emit with the same event name and values that we used before.

MyTextInput.vue
<script>  export default {    // can use the entire context object    setup (props, context) {        const handleChange = (event) => {            context.emit("customChange", event.target.value)        }        return {            handleChange        }    },    // or we can destructure it and get `emit`    setup (props, { emit }) {         const handleChange = (event) => {            emit("customChange", event.target.value)        }        return {            handleChange        }    }  }</script><template>  <div>    <label>My Custom Input</label>    <input type="text" placeholder="Custom input!" @input="handleChange" />  </div></template>

Try it out

Works the same, but Composition API 😉

Composition API Demo

Usage in <script setup>

When we are using <script setup>, we don't have access to the component instance or the setup function's context argument.

Soooo. How do we get emit?

In this case, we have a compiler macro called defineEmits that let us:

  • specify events that our component emits
  • add validations for each event
  • have access to the same value as context.emit so we can emit events

In the simplest case, defineEmits array of strings, with each one being the name of an event.

MyTextInput.vue
<script setup>const emit = defineEmits(['customChange'])const handleChange = (event) => {  emit('customChange', event.target.value.toUpperCase())}</script>

Still works!

<script setup> Demo

However, if we pass an object, we can add a validator function for each event that lets us check we're emitting events with proper values.

Like event listeners, the validator accepts however many values as we pass in.

This works similar to prop validation, where if our validator returns false, we'll get a warning in our console. While the event with the unvalidated value will still be emitted, the console warning provides valuable feedback during development.

MyTextInput.vue
<script setup>const emit = defineEmits({  unvalidatedEvent: null, // if we want an event without validation  customChange: (s) => {    if (s && typeof s === 'string') {      return true    } else {      console.warn(`Invalid submit event payload!`)      return false    }  },})const handleChange = (event) => {  // no console warning  emit('customChange', event.target.value.toUpperCase())}onMounted(() => {  emit('customChange', 1) // not a string, warning!})</script>

Best Practices

Defining your custom events using emits

If we're not using defineEmits, we can still keep track custom events for a component by defining the emits option in our export default.

This is important for keeping good component documentation and for getting errors from Vue if we try to use an event not declared in emits.

Also, defining events makes component events take priority over the native events.

For example, if we define an event called change (an existing HTML event), we can override the default action.

MyTextInput.vue
<script>  export default {      emits: ["change"] // or can pass object with validators  }</script><template>  <div>    <label>My Custom Input</label>    <input      type="text"      placeholder="Custom input!"      @input='$emit("change", $event.target.value)'    />  </div></template>

Proper casing for events

In Vue 3, event names can automatically be converted between the different cases. Similar to props, it's best to stick to each programming language’s conventions and use camelCase in your script and kebab-case in your template.

However, if you're using Vue 2, event names don't have automatic case conversion and since v-on directive automatically converts your event names to lower case so camelCase named events impossible to listen to.

For example, if we emitted an event called myEvent, listening for my-event would not work.

Final Thoughts

The ability to emit custom events in Vue is one of the most important techniques to understand before working on larger Vue projects.

I hope this overview of Vue emit helped explain the different ways to use this powerful feature in all sorts of Vue apps.

Happy coding!