Uppercase D and lowercase d

JavaScript's simplest text manipulations transform strings between uppercase and lowercase. Capitalization is trickier (and not yet an established method), but entirely achievable.

In many cases, you actually don’t need to use JavaScript for these processes: if the content is only going to be presented on a web page, it’s easier and more performant to transform text using CSS.

However, CSS has its limits: it can only be used to style the presentation of text context on the web page - paragraphs & headings, links, etc - and can’t influence text in attribute values, such as title or alt. If you’re trying to format text before it is inserted into a database, for example, JavaScript (possibly in combination with and HTML5’s autocapitalize attribute) is the way to go.


In JavaScript:

var sourceText = "To see a World in a Grain of Sand";

CSS Alternative: If the text was within an element with an id of auguries1:

#auguries1 { text-transform: uppercase; }


In JavaScript, use the very ironically camelCased toLowerCase() method, shown here using slightly different code from the first example:

var sourceText = "And a Heaven in a Wild Flower";
sourceText = sourceText.toLowerCase();
> and a heaven in a wild flower

CSS Alternative: If the text was displayed in an element with a class of auguries2:

.auguries2 { text-transform: lowercase; }


Title Case: Capitalize The First Letter Of Every Word

This is best left to a JavaScript function:

function toTitleCase(str) {
    return str.replace(/[^-'\s]+/g, function(word) {
        return word.replace(/^./, function(first) {
        return first.toUpperCase();

var concertTitle = "live-alive in łódź";
> Live-Alive In Łódź

In CSS: to capitalize the first letter of every word in all h1 elements:

h1 { text-transform: capitalize; }

Sentence Case: Capitalising the first letter of the first word

So commonly needed that it is probably best to attach it to the string prototype, creating a new method:

String.prototype.toSentenceCase = function() {
    return this.charAt(0).toUpperCase() + this.slice(1);

To demonstrate it in the console:

var auguries = "hold infinity in the palm of your hand";
> Hold infinity in the palm of your hand

In CSS: use a combination of selectors; for example, to capitalize the first letter in every paragraph:

p:first-letter { text-transform: uppercase; }

Lines of poetry are from William Blake’s Auguries of Innocence, sentence case technique derived from code by Steven Harrison.

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