Table Drag and Drop jQuery plugin

This page contains documentation and tests for the TableDnD jQuery plug-in. For more information and to post comments, please go to

If you have issues or bug reports, then you can post them at the TableDnD plug page at

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How do I use it?

  1. Download Download jQuery (version 1.2 or above, currently tested with 1.7.1), then the TableDnD plugin (current version 0.6).
  2. Reference both scripts in your HTML page in the normal way.
  3. In true jQuery style, the typical way to initialise the tabes is in the $(document).ready function. Use a selector to select your table and then call tableDnD(). You can optionally specify a set of properties (described below).
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The HTML for the table is very straight forward (no Javascript, pure HTML):

<table id="table-1" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="2">
    <tr id="1"><td>1</td><td>One</td><td>some text</td></tr>
    <tr id="2"><td>2</td><td>Two</td><td>some text</td></tr>
    <tr id="3"><td>3</td><td>Three</td><td>some text</td></tr>
    <tr id="4"><td>4</td><td>Four</td><td>some text</td></tr>
    <tr id="5"><td>5</td><td>Five</td><td>some text</td></tr>
    <tr id="6"><td>6</td><td>Six</td><td>some text</td></tr>

To add in the "draggability" all we need to do is add a line to the $(document).ready(...) function as follows:

<script type="text/javascript">
$(document).ready(function() {
    // Initialise the table

In the example above we're not setting any parameters at all so we get the default settings. There are a number of parameters you can set in order to control the look and feel of the table and also to add custom behaviour on drag or on drop. The parameters are specified as a map in the usual way and are described below:

This is the style that is assigned to the row during drag. There are limitations to the styles that can be associated with a row (such as you can't assign a border—well you can, but it won't be displayed). (So instead consider using onDragClass.) The CSS style to apply is specified as a map (as used in the jQuery css(...) function).
This is the style that is assigned to the row when it is dropped. As for onDragStyle, there are limitations to what you can do. Also this replaces the original style, so again consider using onDragClass which is simply added and then removed on drop.
This class is added for the duration of the drag and then removed when the row is dropped. It is more flexible than using onDragStyle since it can be inherited by the row cells and other content. The default is class is tDnD_whileDrag. So to use the default, simply customise this CSS class in your stylesheet.
Pass a function that will be called when the row is dropped. The function takes 2 parameters: the table and the row that was dropped. You can work out the new order of the rows by using table.tBodies[0].rows.
Pass a function that will be called when the user starts dragging. The function takes 2 parameters: the table and the row which the user has started to drag.
This is the number of pixels to scroll if the user moves the mouse cursor to the top or bottom of the window. The page should automatically scroll up or down as appropriate (tested in IE6, IE7, Safari, FF2, FF3 beta)

This second table has has an onDrop function applied as well as an onDragClass. The javascript to set this up is as follows:

$(document).ready(function() {

	// Initialise the first table (as before)

	// Make a nice striped effect on the table
	$("#table-2 tr:even').addClass('alt')");

	// Initialise the second table specifying a dragClass and an onDrop function that will display an alert
	    onDragClass: "myDragClass",
	    onDrop: function(table, row) {
            var rows = table.tBodies[0].rows;
            var debugStr = "Row dropped was "". New order: ";
            for (var i=0; i<rows.length; i++) {
                debugStr += rows[i].id+" ";
		onDragStart: function(table, row) {
			$(#debugArea).html("Started dragging row ";

What to do afterwards?

Generally once the user has dropped a row, you need to inform the server of the new order. To do this, we've added a method called serialise(). It takes no parameters but knows the current table from the context. The method returns a string of the form tableId[]=rowId1&tableId[]=rowId2&tableId[]=rowId3... You can then use this as part of an Ajax load.

This third table demonstrates calling the serialise function inside onDrop (as shown below). It also demonstrates the "nodrop" class on row 3 and "nodrag" class on row 5, so you can't pick up row 5 and you can't drop any row on row 3 (but you can drag it).

        onDrop: function(table, row) {

Ajax result

Drag and drop in this table to test out serialise and using JQuery.load()

3Three (Can't drop on this row)
5Five (Can't drag this row)

This table has multiple TBODYs. The functionality isn't quite working properly. You can only drag the rows inside their own TBODY, you can't drag them outside it. Now this might or might not be what you want, but unfortunately if you then drop a row outside its TBODY you get a Javascript error because inserting after a sibling doesn't work. This will be fixed in the next version. The header rows all have the classes "nodrop" and "nodrag" so that they can't be dragged or dropped on.


The following table demonstrates the use of the default regular expression. The rows have IDs of the form table5-row-1, table5-row-2, etc., but the regular expression is /[^\-]*$/ (this is the same as used in the NestedSortable plugin for consistency). This removes everything before and including the last hyphen, so the serialised string just has 1, 2, 3 etc. You can replace the regular expression by setting the serializeRegexp option, you can also just set it to null to stop this behaviour.

        onDrop: function(table, row) {
        dragHandle: ".dragHandle"
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In fact you will notice that I have also set the dragHandle on this table. This has two effects: firstly only the cell with the drag handle class is draggable and secondly it doesn't automatically add the cursor: move style to the row (or the drag handle cell), so you are responsible for setting up the style as you see fit.

Here I've actually added an extra effect which adds a background image to the first cell in the row whenever you enter it using the jQuery hover function as follows:

    $("#table-5 tr").hover(function() {
    }, function() {

This provides a better visualisation of what you can do to the row and where you need to go to drag it (I hope).

Version History

0.22008-02-20First public release
0.32008-02-27Added onDragStart option
Made the scroll amount configurable (default is 5 as before)
0.42008-03-28Fixed the scrollAmount so that if you set this to zero then it switches off this functionality
Fixed the auto-scrolling in IE6 thanks to Phil
Changed the NoDrop attribute to the class "nodrop" (so any row with this class won't allow dropping)
Changed the NoDrag attribute to the class "nodrag" (so any row with this class can't be dragged)
Added support for multiple TBODYs--though it's still not perfect
Added onAllowDrop to allow the developer to customise this behaviour
Added a serialize() method to return the order of the rows in a form suitable for POSTing back to the server
0.52008-06-04Changed so that if you specify a dragHandle class it doesn't make the whole row
Improved the serialize method to use a default (and settable) regular expression.
Added tableDnDupate() and tableDnDSerialize() to be called when you are outside the table