jQuery Tree Table Plugin Demos & Documentation

Download the latest release from the jQuery Plugin Registry or grab the source code from Github. Please report issues through Github issues. This plugin is released under both the MIT and the GPLv2 license by Ludo van den Boom.

Basic jQuery treetable Example
Tree column Additional data
Node 1: Click on the icon in front of me to expand this branch. I live in the second column.
Node 1.1: Look, I am a table row and I am part of a tree! Interesting.
Node 1.1.1: I am part of the tree too! That's it!
Node 2: I am another root node, but without children Hurray!

Table of Contents

  1. Overview
  2. Usage
  3. Configuration
  4. Public API
  5. Examples
  6. Test Suite
  7. CHANGELOG.txt

1. Overview

jQuery treetable is a plugin for jQuery, the 'Write Less, Do More, JavaScript Library'. With this plugin you can display a tree in an HTML table, i.e. a directory structure or a nested list. Why not use a list, you say? Because lists are great for displaying a tree, and tables are not. Oh wait, but this plugin uses tables, doesn't it? Yes. Why do I use a table to display a list? Because I need multiple columns to display additional data besides the tree.


One of the goals of jQuery treetable is to be as unobtrusive as possible. Being 'unobtrusive' is very cool nowadays, so that was an important requirement. But it is cool for a reason: it keeps your HTML documents clean and it allows the code to degrade nicely when Javascript is not available.

The treetable plugin only requires that you add specific data attributes to every row that is part of your tree. The plugin uses these attributes to determine what your tree looks like. Otherwise, it would have to guess the structure of the tree and it wouldn't be very successful in doing that. See the Usage chapter for more information on how to prepare your tree.


2. Usage

Note: This chapter assumes that you have already installed jQuery as described on their website.

Include the plugin in your document

Copy the files javascripts/src/jquery.treetable.js and stylesheets/jquery.treetable.css to your project. Paste the following code right before the closing body tag in your HTML document. Make sure these lines are below the line where you include jQuery. Change the red parts to reflect your situation.

<link href="path/to/jquery.treetable.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" />
<script src="path/to/jquery.treetable.js"></script>

Styling the tree

By default the tree has little styling. Use the file stylesheets/jquery.treetable.theme.default.css as a template for your own styling. You can also just use this default theme, in that case don't forget to copy the images from images and update the paths in the CSS accordingly.

Representing your tree in a table

When you pasted the above code and adjusted it to reflect your situation, you enabled the possibility of displaying a tree in your table. To make the tree actually display as a tree you have to add data-tt-id and data-tt-parent-id attributes to your table rows (tr).

How to do this?

First, you should add a unique data-tt-id attribute to each of the rows in your table, for example 'node-x'. Then you add a data-tt-parent-id attribute to each child of a node, give this class a value of 'node-x'. The node-x part should be the same as the data-tt-id of its parent. Do you still follow me? Let me show you an example of a very simple tree: a single parent with a single child. For more examples you should view the source code of this page, where you find several tables for the examples in the examples chapter.

  <tr data-tt-id="1">
  <tr data-tt-id="2" data-tt-parent-id="1">

Please note that the plugin expects the rows in the HTML table to be in the same order in which they should be displayed in the tree. For example, suppose you have three nodes: A, B (child of node A) and C (child of node B). If you create rows for these nodes in your HTML table in the following order A - C - B, then the tree will not display correctly. You have to make sure that the rows are in the order A - B - C.

3. Configuration

There are several settings that let you adjust the behavior of the plugin. Each of these settings is described in this section. Pass these options and callback functions to the treetable() function. See the examples.


Setting Type Default Description
branchAttr string "ttBranch" Optional data attribute that can be used to force the expander icon to be rendered on a node. This allows us to define a node as a branch node even though it does not have children yet. This translates to a data-tt-branch attribute in your HTML.
clickableNodeNames bool false Set to true to expand branches not only when expander icon is clicked but also when node name is clicked.
column int 0 The number of the column in the table that should be displayed as a tree.
columnElType string "td" The types of cells that should be considered for the tree (td, th or both).
expandable bool false Should the tree be expandable? An expandable tree contains buttons to make each branch with children collapsible/expandable.
expanderTemplate string <a href="#">&nbsp;</a> The HTML fragment used for the expander.
indent int 19 The number of pixels that each branch should be indented with.
indenterTemplate string <span class="indenter"></span> The HTML fragment used for the indenter.
initialState string "collapsed" Possible values: "expanded" or "collapsed".
nodeIdAttr string "ttId" Name of the data attribute used to identify node. Translates to data-tt-id in your HTML.
parentIdAttr string "ttParentId" Name of the data attribute used to set parent node. Translates to data-tt-parent-id in your HTML.
stringCollapse string "Collapse" For internationalization.
stringExpand string "Expand" For internationalization.


Setting Type Default Description
onInitialized function null Callback function fired when the tree has been initialized.
onNodeCollapse function null Callback function fired when a branch is collapsed.
onNodeExpand function null Callback function fired when a branch is expanded.
onNodeInitialized function null Callback function fired when a node has been initialized.

4. Public API

treetable() Plugin Function

The treetable() function accepts the following arguments:

options (optional)
A Javascript object of configuration settings as described in the chapter on configuration.
force (optional)
Pass the boolean true to force reinitialization of the tree.

Additional Functions

Use the following functions to manipulate the tree programmatically. Calling a function should be done through the treetable() function. For example, to collapse node '42' use $("#tree").treetable("collapseNode", "42").

Collapse all nodes at once.
Collapse a single node, identified by id.
Expand all nodes at once.
Expand all nodes at once.
loadBranch(node, rows)
Load additional rows (HTML <tr>s) into the tree, with parent node. If node is null rows will be added as root nodes.
move(nodeId, destinationId)
Move node nodeId to new parent with destinationId.
Select a node from the tree. Returns a TreeTable.Node object.
Reveal a node in the tree.
Remove nodes/rows (HTML <tr>s) from the tree, with parent node. Note that the parent (node) will not be removed.


The following classes are dynamically to the rows:
When the row is expanded
When the row is collapsed
When the row has children or the branchAttr is present
When the row has no children

5. Examples

Basic Static Tree


Basic Expandable Tree

$("#example-basic-expandable").treetable({ expandable: true });

Complex Tree With Drag and Drop

This example uses jQuery UI's Draggable and Droppable components. The tree has 459 nodes.

Examples: 2-1-1, 3-1-1-2-2 and 3-2-1-2-3-1-2-2-1-1-1-1-2-5
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$("#example-advanced").treetable({ expandable: true });

// Highlight selected row
$("#example-advanced tbody").on("mousedown", "tr", function() {

// Drag & Drop Example Code
$("#example-advanced .file, #example-advanced .folder").draggable({
  helper: "clone",
  opacity: .75,
  refreshPositions: true,
  revert: "invalid",
  revertDuration: 300,
  scroll: true

$("#example-advanced .folder").each(function() {
    accept: ".file, .folder",
    drop: function(e, ui) {
      var droppedEl = ui.draggable.parents("tr");
      $("#example-advanced").treetable("move", droppedEl.data("ttId"), $(this).data("ttId"));
    hoverClass: "accept",
    over: function(e, ui) {
      var droppedEl = ui.draggable.parents("tr");
      if(this != droppedEl[0] && !$(this).is(".expanded")) {
        $("#example-advanced").treetable("expandNode", $(this).data("ttId"));

AJAX enabled D&D example

See https://github.com/ludo/jquery-treetable-ajax-example.

Using treetable with PersistJS

See https://github.com/jughead/jquery-treetable-ajax-persist.