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Vue Tip: Creating a Custom Directive

Michael Hoffmann (Mokkapps) - Senior Frontend Developer (Freelancer)
Aug 13, 2022
2 min read
Creating a Custom Directive Image

In addition to the default set of directives like v-model or v-show, you can also register your own custom directives. For this article, let's look at how you can create a v-theme directive that applies a specific style to an element of our template.


Custom directives should be used for reusing logic that involves low-level DOM access on plain elements.

You can define the custom directive inside any Vue component:

<template>  <span v-theme>Test</span></template><script setup>// enables v-theme in our templateconst vTheme = {  mounted: (el) => { = 'red'  },}</script>

Open playground

We defined the custom directive as an object that contains the lifecycle hooks as a Vue component. The element the directive is bound to is available as the first argument of the lifecycle hooks.

In <script setup>, any camelCase variable that starts with the v prefix can be used as a custom directive.


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

Now let's extend our directive by adding an argument that defines which theme should be applied:

<template>  <span v-theme:[theme]>Selected theme: {{ theme }}</span>  <button @click="switchTheme">Switch theme</button></template><script setup>import { ref } from 'vue'const theme = ref('primary')const switchTheme = () => {  if (theme.value === 'primary') {    theme.value = 'secondary'  } else if (theme.value === 'secondary') {    theme.value = 'primary'  }}const setThemeColor = (el, binding) => {  if (binding.arg === 'primary') { = 'orange'  } else if (binding.arg === 'secondary') { = 'green'  } else { = 'black'  }}// enables v-theme in our templateconst vTheme = {  mounted(el, binding) {    setThemeColor(el, binding)  },  updated(el, binding) {    setThemeColor(el, binding)  },}</script>

Open playground

At this point, you have created a custom directive that you can use in your Vue.js application.

Check the official documentation for more information.

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