The indexOf() method returns the index within the calling String object of the first occurrence of the specified value, starting the search at fromIndex. Returns -1 if the value is not found.

Note: For the Array method, see Array.prototype.indexOf().


str.indexOf(searchValue[, fromIndex])


A string representing the value to search for.
fromIndex Optional
An integer representing the index at which to start the search; the default value is 0. For fromIndex values lower than 0 or greater than str.length, the search starts at index 0 and str.length respectively.

Return value

The index of the first occurrence of searchValue, or -1 if not found.
An empty string searchValue will match at any index between 0 and str.length


Characters in a string are indexed from left to right. The index of the first character is 0, and the index of the last character of a string called stringName is stringName.length - 1.

'Blue Whale'.indexOf('Blue');     // returns  0
'Blue Whale'.indexOf('Blute');    // returns -1
'Blue Whale'.indexOf('Whale', 0); // returns  5
'Blue Whale'.indexOf('Whale', 5); // returns  5
'Blue Whale'.indexOf('Whale', 7); // returns -1
'Blue Whale'.indexOf('');         // returns  0
'Blue Whale'.indexOf('', 9);      // returns  9
'Blue Whale'.indexOf('', 10);     // returns 10
'Blue Whale'.indexOf('', 11);     // returns 10

The indexOf() method is case sensitive. For example, the following expression returns -1:

'Blue Whale'.indexOf('blue'); // returns -1

Checking occurrences

Note that '0' doesn't evaluate to true and '-1' doesn't evaluate to false. Therefore, when checking if a specific string exists within another string the correct way to check would be:

'Blue Whale'.indexOf('Blue') !== -1; // true
'Blue Whale'.indexOf('Bloe') !== -1; // false


Using indexOf()

The following example uses indexOf() to locate values in the string "Brave new world".

var str = 'Brave new world';

console.log('Index of first w from start is ' + str.indexOf('w'));  // logs 8
console.log('Index of "new" from start is ' + str.indexOf('new'));  // logs 6

indexOf() and case-sensitivity

The following example defines two string variables. The variables contain the same string except that the second string contains uppercase letters. The first console.log() method displays 19. But because the indexOf() method is case sensitive, the string "cheddar" is not found in myCapString, so the second console.log() method displays -1.

var myString    = 'brie, pepper jack, cheddar';
var myCapString = 'Brie, Pepper Jack, Cheddar';

console.log('myString.indexOf("cheddar") is ' + myString.indexOf('cheddar'));
// logs 19
console.log('myCapString.indexOf("cheddar") is ' + myCapString.indexOf('cheddar'));
// logs -1

Using indexOf() to count occurrences of a letter in a string

The following example sets count to the number of occurrences of the letter e in the string str:

var str = 'To be, or not to be, that is the question.';
var count = 0;
var pos = str.indexOf('e');

while (pos !== -1) {
  pos = str.indexOf('e', pos + 1);

console.log(count); // displays 4


Browser compatibilityUpdate compatibility data on GitHub

Chrome Edge Firefox Internet Explorer Opera Safari
Basic support Yes Yes 1 Yes Yes Yes
Android webview Chrome for Android Edge Mobile Firefox for Android Opera for Android iOS Safari Samsung Internet
Basic support Yes Yes Yes 4 Yes Yes Yes
Basic support Yes

See also

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