useRef Hook in React

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useRef hook in React

useRef Hook in React

In React, managing references to DOM elements and values across renders is essential for building interactive and dynamic user interfaces. With the useRef hook introduced in React 16.8, developers gained a powerful tool for accessing and manipulating DOM elements, managing stateful values, and more, all within functional components. Let’s explore how useRef works and see how you can leverage it to enhance functionality in your React projects.

useRef is a hook provided by React that allows developers to create mutable references to DOM elements, values, or objects that persist across renders. It provides a way to access and manipulate these references directly within functional components, similar to instance variables in class components. useRef returns a mutable ref object, which persists for the entire lifecycle of the component.

Check the example below for useRef in React:

In the example, useRef creates inputRef, assigned to the input element. handleClick focuses on the input using inputRef.current.


Benefits of useRef:

  1. Accessing DOM Elements: useRef grants direct DOM access, simplifying interaction and manipulation without query selectors or other DOM manipulation methods.
  2. Managing Stateful Values: useRef can be used to persist values across renders, such as form field values, timers, or previous state values.
  3. Optimizing Performance: useRef facilitates optimization by preventing unnecessary re-renders when accessing or updating values that don’t affect the component’s output.



With useRef, developers can unlock a wide range of possibilities for enhancing functionality and performance in React functional components. By using it to manage references to DOM elements, values, and objects, developers can create more interactive React applications. Experimenting with useRef in your projects will enable you to explore its full potential and elevate your React development experience.