file-drop custom element

Paul Kinlan

I'm rather proud of the team - Jake, Surma, Mariko, Jason, Ewa and Mustafa - who created the project for Chrome Dev Summit. It's been great to see some of the press around it, and it's a testament to the team about how fluid and smooth the entire interface is - a lot of work went in to the interaction design and maintaining 60FPS everywhere (not to mention the codecs that they brought to the web).

My own contribution to the project was the <file-drop> custom element. I'm constantly frustrated by how hard it can be to get data in to a web application in the way that a user expects and I didn't want this application to have the same issues, so I created a simple custom element that acts as a drop target for files filterable by mime-type.

Many custom elements exist for this type of interaction, but one thing that I am quite proud of is that we managed to keep it under 1kb compressed, it has a simple API (configuration, events and styling) and we worked out a neat way to build the elements that I hope others in the industry will try and use.

You can try it inline on this page, and you can get the file from and you can install it with npm i file-drop-element.

Drop a file here

It's also pretty simple to use:

You can import it as an ES6 module

Copy from node_modules in to a local directory.

<script src='file-drop.mjs' type='module'></script>


  Drop file here


You can use it directly as a UMD, for non-ES6 Module supporting browsers

<script src='filedrop.umd.js'></script>


  Drop file here


You can be notified when a file is dropped

<file-drop id="dropTarget">Drop a file here</file-drop>

dropTarget.onfiledrop = (e) => {
  dropTarget.textContent =;

You can allow certain files to be dropped on the element

The element will accept any drop event that has the .dataTransfer object populated with any file. If you want to control the types of files that can be dropped on to the element, use the same syntax that <input> elements use when the accept attribute is set, that is:

  • <file-drop> - any file
  • <file-drop accept='image/*'> - all images
  • <file-drop accept='image/png'> - only Images that have the MIME-type of a PNG.

You can control some of the styling so that you can validate the input type

The element an inline display element and it can be controlled like any normal element. The element does not use Shadow DOM so there are no internal elements to style.

The element will add two classes drop-valid and drop-invalid to the element depending on the mime-type of the file that is currently being dragged over the element.


file-drop.drop-valid {
  background-color: green;

file-drop.drop-invalid {
  background-color: red;


I lead the Chrome Developer Relations team at Google.

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