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React JS

How to use useref in React JS

React hooks revolutionized state and lifecycle management, offering developers powerful tools to handle component logic. Among these hooks, useRef stands out as a versatile utility, enabling manipulation of DOM elements and storing mutable values across renders. Let’s delve into the depths of useRef and explore its various applications in React.js.

Understanding useRef

useRef is a hook provided by React that creates a mutable reference to an element or a value, persisting across renders without triggering re-renders like state updates.

Basic Usage

To use useRef in a React functional component:

import React, { useRef } from 'react';

const MyComponent = () => {
  const myRef = useRef(initialValue);

  // ...component logic

  return (
    // ...JSX

Creating a Reference to DOM Elements

One common use case for useRef is to obtain references to DOM elements. For instance, referencing an input element:

const inputRef = useRef(null);

return (
  <input type="text" ref={inputRef} />

Preserving Values Across Renders

useRef retains its value between renders. This makes it useful for storing values that don’t trigger re-renders when updated, unlike state:

const countRef = useRef(0);

const increment = () => {
  countRef.current += 1;
  console.log('Current count:', countRef.current);

Imperative DOM Manipulation

By holding references to DOM elements, useRef facilitates imperative operations like focusing an input field:

const inputRef = useRef(null);

const focusInput = () => {

When to Use useRef

  • DOM Manipulation: For accessing/manipulating DOM elements imperatively.
  • Preserving Values: To store values that persist across renders without triggering re-renders.
  • Accessing Previous Values: For tracking previous values without causing re-renders.

Best Practices

  • Avoid Excessive DOM Manipulation: Favor declarative React patterns unless necessary for specific operations.
  • Separate Concerns: Use useRef for managing references and mutable values, keeping it distinct from state management.


The useRef hook in React.js provides a powerful mechanism for managing references, storing mutable values, and performing imperative DOM operations within functional components. Its versatility makes it a valuable tool for a wide range of scenarios, from manipulating elements to preserving values across renders without causing re-renders.

By mastering useRef, React developers can streamline their code, optimize performance, and efficiently handle scenarios where mutable references or values are necessary.

Happy coding with useRef! 🚀✨



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