Dispatches an Event at the specified EventTarget, (synchronously) invoking the affected EventListeners in the appropriate order. The normal event processing rules (including the capturing and optional bubbling phase) also apply to events dispatched manually with dispatchEvent().


cancelled = !target.dispatchEvent(event)


  • event is the Event object to be dispatched.
  • target is used to initialize the Event.target and determine which event listeners to invoke.

Return Value

  • The return value is false if event is cancelable and at least one of the event handlers which received event called Event.preventDefault(). Otherwise it returns true.

The dispatchEvent() method throws UNSPECIFIED_EVENT_TYPE_ERR if the event's type was not specified by initializing the event before the method was called, or if the event's type is null or an empty string.


Exceptions thrown by event handlers are reported as uncaught exceptions. The event handlers run on a nested callstack; they block the caller until they complete, but exceptions do not propagate to the caller.


Unlike "native" events, which are fired by the DOM and invoke event handlers asynchronously via the event loop, dispatchEvent() invokes event handlers synchronously. All applicable event handlers will execute and return before the code continues on after the call to dispatchEvent().

dispatchEvent() is the last step of the create-init-dispatch process, which is used for dispatching events into the implementation's event model. The event can be created using Event constructor.

See also the Event object reference.


See Creating and triggering events.


Specification Status Comment
The definition of 'EventTarget.dispatchEvent()' in that specification.
Living Standard Initial definition in the DOM 2 Events specification.

Browser compatibility

ChromeEdgeFirefoxInternet ExplorerOperaSafariAndroid webviewChrome for AndroidFirefox for AndroidOpera for AndroidSafari on iOSSamsung Internet
dispatchEventChrome Full support 4Edge Full support 12Firefox Full support 2IE Full support 9
Full support 9
No support 6 — 11
Notes Alternate Name
Notes Older versions of IE supported an equivalent, proprietary EventTarget.fireEvent() method.
Alternate Name Uses the non-standard name: fireEvent
Opera Full support 9Safari Full support 3.2WebView Android Full support 4Chrome Android Full support 18Firefox Android Full support 4Opera Android Full support 10.1Safari iOS Full support 3Samsung Internet Android Full support 1.0


Full support
Full support
See implementation notes.
See implementation notes.
Uses a non-standard name.
Uses a non-standard name.