Understanding JavaScript onClick and onSubmit Events and the Order of Execution

3 min. read


In the dynamic world of web development, user interactions play a pivotal role in creating engaging and responsive applications. Two commonly used events, onClick and onSubmit, are integral to capturing user input and triggering specific actions. In this blog, we'll delve into the intricacies of these events and explore the order in which they fire, shedding light on their behavior and implications for web developers.

Understanding an onClick Event

The onClick event is triggered when a user clicks on an interactive element, such as a button or a link. It is widely used to initiate various actions, from simple UI updates to complex functionalities. When a user clicks on an element associated with the onClick event, the browser executes the specified JavaScript function or code block.

Order of Execution for onClick:

  1. The user clicks on the interactive element.
  2. The onClick event is triggered.
  3. The associated JavaScript function or code block is executed.

It's important to note that the onClick event is primarily associated with user interactions, making it a valuable tool for creating interactive and user-friendly web applications.

Understanding onSubmit Event

The onSubmit event is typically associated with HTML forms. It is triggered when a user submits a form by clicking the submit button or pressing the Enter key while focusing on a form field. The onSubmit event is crucial for form validation, data submission, and other form-related functionalities.

Order of Execution for onSubmit:

  1. The user submits the form (via submit button or Enter key).
  2. The onSubmit event is triggered.
  3. The associated JavaScript function or code block is executed.

Differences Between onClick and onSubmit

While both events involve user interactions, their application and use cases differ. The onClick event is versatile and applicable to a wide range of interactive elements, whereas the onSubmit event is specifically tailored for form submissions.

It's worth noting that onClick events are often used within forms, but they are not the primary event associated with form submission. Developers must choose the appropriate event based on the desired functionality and user experience.

Considerations for Developers

  • Event Propagation: Understand the concept of event propagation, including capturing and bubbling phases. This knowledge is crucial for handling events in complex document structures.
  • Preventing Default Behavior: Both onClick and onSubmit events have default behaviors associated with them (e.g., submitting a form). Developers can use event.preventDefault() to prevent the default behavior and implement custom actions.
  • Event Delegation: Leverage event delegation to handle multiple interactive elements efficiently. This technique involves attaching a single event listener to a common ancestor, reducing the number of event listeners on individual elements.

Execution Order

When both onClick and onSubmit events are fired simultaneously, the order of execution is determined by the specific circumstances and elements involved. In a typical scenario where both events are associated with the same action, such as clicking a submit button within a form, the order can be understood by considering the structure of the HTML document and the propagation phases.

Here's a general overview:

onClick within the Submit Button:

  • If both onClick and onSubmit events are attached to the same submit button, the onClick event will usually fire first. This is because the user initiates the click action, leading to the triggering of the onClick event associated with the button.

onSubmit for the Form:

  • Following the onClick event, the form's onSubmit event is triggered. This happens as a part of the form submission process and can include form validation, data processing, or any other actions associated with the form submission.
onClick vs onSubmit Demo

It's important to note that the order may vary if the events are attached to different elements or if event propagation phases are explicitly manipulated using event handlers. Understanding event propagation (capturing and bubbling phases) is key to grasping the nuances of event order in more complex scenarios.

In summary, while the onClick event generally precedes the onSubmit event in the context of a form submission through a button click, the specific implementation and event handling within the application may influence the order of execution.


In web development, onClick and onSubmit events are fundamental to creating interactive and responsive user interfaces. Understanding the order of event execution for these events is essential for developers seeking to harness their full potential. By strategically implementing these events, developers can craft seamless and engaging web experiences for users, enhancing the overall usability of their applications.

We hope this article was helpful. If you have any further questions feel free to reach out to us on Twitter or Linkedin, or message us.

Keith Kikta

NestJS • C# • AWS • Azure • Integration • EPM • CPM