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Custom Directives


In addition to the default set of directives shipped in core (like v-model or v-show), Vue also allows you to register your own custom directives.

We have introduced two forms of code reuse in Vue: components and composables. Components are the main building blocks, while composables are focused on reusing stateful logic. Custom directives, on the other hand, are mainly intended for reusing logic that involves low-level DOM access on plain elements.

A custom directive is defined as an object containing lifecycle hooks similar to those of a component. The hooks receive the element the directive is bound to. Here is an example of a directive that focuses an input when the element is inserted into the DOM by Vue:

<script setup>
// enables v-focus in templates
const vFocus = {
  mounted: (el) => el.focus()

  <input v-focus />
const focus = {
  mounted: (el) => el.focus()

export default {
  directives: {
    // enables v-focus in template
<input v-focus />

Assuming you haven't clicked elsewhere on the page, the input above should be auto-focused. This directive is more useful than the autofocus attribute because it works not just on page load - it also works when the element is dynamically inserted by Vue.

In <script setup>, any camelCase variable that starts with the v prefix can be used as a custom directive. In the example above, vFocus can be used in the template as v-focus.

If not using <script setup>, custom directives can be registered using the directives option:

export default {
  setup() {
  directives: {
    // enables v-focus in template
    focus: {
      /* ... */

Similar to components, custom directives must be registered so that they can be used in templates. In the example above, we are using local registration via the directives option.

It is also common to globally register custom directives at the app level:

const app = createApp({})

// make v-focus usable in all components
app.directive('focus', {
  /* ... */


Custom directives should only be used when the desired functionality can only be achieved via direct DOM manipulation. Prefer declarative templating using built-in directives such as v-bind when possible because they are more efficient and server-rendering friendly.

Directive Hooks

A directive definition object can provide several hook functions (all optional):

const myDirective = {
  // called before bound element's attributes
  // or event listeners are applied
  created(el, binding, vnode) {
    // see below for details on arguments
  // called right before the element is inserted into the DOM.
  beforeMount(el, binding, vnode) {},
  // called when the bound element's parent component
  // and all its children are mounted.
  mounted(el, binding, vnode) {},
  // called before the parent component is updated
  beforeUpdate(el, binding, vnode, prevVnode) {},
  // called after the parent component and
  // all of its children have updated
  updated(el, binding, vnode, prevVnode) {},
  // called before the parent component is unmounted
  beforeUnmount(el, binding, vnode) {},
  // called when the parent component is unmounted
  unmounted(el, binding, vnode) {}

Hook Arguments

Directive hooks are passed these arguments:

  • el: the element the directive is bound to. This can be used to directly manipulate the DOM.

  • binding: an object containing the following properties.

    • value: The value passed to the directive. For example in v-my-directive="1 + 1", the value would be 2.
    • oldValue: The previous value, only available in beforeUpdate and updated. It is available whether or not the value has changed.
    • arg: The argument passed to the directive, if any. For example in v-my-directive:foo, the arg would be "foo".
    • modifiers: An object containing modifiers, if any. For example in, the modifiers object would be { foo: true, bar: true }.
    • instance: The instance of the component where the directive is used.
    • dir: the directive definition object.
  • vnode: the underlying VNode representing the bound element.

  • prevVnode: the VNode representing the bound element from the previous render. Only available in the beforeUpdate and updated hooks.

As an example, consider the following directive usage:


The binding argument would be an object in the shape of:

  arg: 'foo',
  modifiers: { bar: true },
  value: /* value of `baz` */,
  oldValue: /* value of `baz` from previous update */

Similar to built-in directives, custom directive arguments can be dynamic. For example:

<div v-example:[arg]="value"></div>

Here the directive argument will be reactively updated based on arg property in our component state.


Apart from el, you should treat these arguments as read-only and never modify them. If you need to share information across hooks, it is recommended to do so through element's dataset.

Function Shorthand

It's common for a custom directive to have the same behavior for mounted and updated, with no need for the other hooks. In such cases we can define the directive as a function:

<div v-color="color"></div>
app.directive('color', (el, binding) => {
  // this will be called for both `mounted` and `updated` = binding.value

Object Literals

If your directive needs multiple values, you can also pass in a JavaScript object literal. Remember, directives can take any valid JavaScript expression.

<div v-demo="{ color: 'white', text: 'hello!' }"></div>
app.directive('demo', (el, binding) => {
  console.log(binding.value.color) // => "white"
  console.log(binding.value.text) // => "hello!"

Usage on Components

Not recommended

Using custom directives on components is not recommended. Unexpected behaviour may occur when a component has multiple root nodes.

When used on components, custom directives will always apply to a component's root node, similar to Fallthrough Attributes.

<MyComponent v-demo="test" />
<!-- template of MyComponent -->

<div> <!-- v-demo directive will be applied here -->
  <span>My component content</span>

Note that components can potentially have more than one root node. When applied to a multi-root component, a directive will be ignored and a warning will be thrown. Unlike attributes, directives can't be passed to a different element with v-bind="$attrs".

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