Understanding Event Capturing and Event Bubbling: A Simple Explanation

Have you ever wondered how a computer knows when you click on a button or move your mouse over a link? Well, it’s all thanks to something called “events.” Events are actions that happen on a web page, like clicking a button, moving your mouse, or pressing a key on the keyboard. But do you know that events can be captured and handled in different ways? Let’s explore the concepts of event capturing and event bubbling in a fun and easy-to-understand way!

What are Events?

Imagine you’re playing a game on your computer, and you want your character to jump when you press the spacebar. When you press the spacebar, your computer generates an event called a “keypress” event. This event tells the game that you pressed the spacebar, and your character jumps accordingly.

Event Capturing: Catching Events from the Top!

Now, imagine you have a stack of building blocks. Each block represents an element on a web page, like a button or a link. When you click on one of these elements, you’re actually triggering an event. Event capturing is like starting from the top of the stack and checking each block to see if it’s the one you clicked on.

Let’s say you have a webpage with a button inside a div, and you click on the button. With event capturing, the browser checks if the click event happened on the div first, then moves down to check if it happened on the button. It’s like climbing down the stack of blocks from the top to the bottom to find the one you clicked on.

Event Bubbling: Bubbling Events from the Bottom!

On the other hand, event bubbling is like starting from the block you clicked on and moving up the stack until you reach the top. It’s called “bubbling” because the event bubbles up through the different elements on the page, just like bubbles rising in a glass of soda.

Using the same example of the button inside a div, when you click on the button, the browser first detects the click event on the button itself. Then, it moves up to check if any of the parent elements (like the div) are also listening for the click event. It keeps bubbling up until it reaches the top of the document.

Example: Understanding Event Capturing and Bubbling

Let’s illustrate this with a simple HTML webpage:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
    <meta charset="UTF-8">
    <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">
    <title>Event Capturing vs Bubbling</title>
        #outer {
            padding: 20px;
            background-color: #f0f0f0;
        #inner {
            padding: 20px;
            background-color: #c0c0c0;
        button {
            padding: 10px 20px;
            background-color: #4caf50;
            border: none;
            color: white;
            font-size: 16px;
            cursor: pointer;

<div id="outer">
    <div id="inner">
        <button>Click Me!</button>

    document.getElementById('outer').addEventListener('click', function() {
        console.log('Clicked on outer div!');
    }, true); // Event capturing

    document.getElementById('inner').addEventListener('click', function() {
        console.log('Clicked on inner div!');
    }, true); // Event capturing

    document.querySelector('button').addEventListener('click', function() {
        console.log('Clicked on button!');
    }, true); // Event capturing


In this example, we have an outer div containing an inner div, which in turn contains a button. We’ve attached event listeners to each of these elements to log a message when they’re clicked, using event capturing (true as the third argument).

When you click the button, you’ll see in the console that the messages are logged in the order of outer div, inner div, and then the button. This demonstrates event capturing, where the events are captured from the top (outermost element) to the bottom (innermost element).


So, event capturing and event bubbling are two ways to handle events on a web page. Event capturing starts from the top of the document and moves down to the target element, while event bubbling starts from the target element and moves up to the top of the document. Understanding these concepts can help you become a better web developer and create more interactive and responsive websites. Happy coding!