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Template literals in vanilla JS

Introduced in ES6, template literals provide a simpler way to create strings that span multiple lines or contain data.

Today, let’s look at how they work.

The old-school way of creating multi-line strings

Historically, multi-line strings needed to be concatenated with an addition operator (+).

var chips =
	'I love Cape Cod potato chips. ' +
	'What about you?';

If you wanted to use variables in your string, you would need to break the string up with quote marks.

var brand = 'Cape Cod';
var chips =
	'I love ' + brand + ' potato chips. ' +
	'What about you?';

The ES6 way: template literals

Instead of a quote, template literals start and end with backticks (`). You do not need to concatenate new lines in template literals.

var str1 =
	`<h1>Hello, world!</h1>
	<p>How are you today?</p>`;

// logs "<h1>Hello, world!</h1><p>How are you today?</p>"

Using variables in strings

You can use variables in template literals (sometimes called expressions) by wrapping the name of the variable in curly brackets with a leading dollar sign (${VARIABLE_NAME}).

var greeting = 'Hi, universe!';
var message = 'How is the weather today?';

var str2 =

// logs "<h1>Hi, universe!</h1><p>How is the weather today?</p>"

Using functions and conditionals in strings

You can also use conditionals and methods in template literals. You cannot use if statements, but you can use ternary operators.

var wizards = ['Hermione', 'Neville', 'Gandalf', 'Radagast'];
var showHeading = true;

var str3 =
	`${showHeading ? '<h1>Awesome Wizards</h1>' : ''}
		${ (wizard) {
			return `<li>${wizard}</li>`;


Browser Compatibility

Template literals work in all modern browsers, including MS Edge, but have no IE support. They cannot be polyfilled, and would require a transpiler like Babel to provide backwards compatibility.

Template literals are awesome, but I personally tend not to use them because of their lack of deep backwards compatibility. If you don’t mind using something like Babel, though, they’re amazing.