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How to copy and crop image using the Canvas browser API


Not every day you need to craft a utility that allows cropping an image in the browser, but in case the day has come, here's how to do it using Canvas APIs.

Assuming you have the URL (or base64 encoded data) of an image you want to crop, then the first to do is to create a DOM Image element:

const image = new Image();
image.src = src;
image.crossOrigin = 'Anonymous';

Let's assume you're given the size and positioning of the desired cropped part (x, y, width, height). Let's create the Canvas element with the desired crop size (width and height) and render the appropriate part of the source image into the newly created Canvas element.

const canvas = document.createElement('canvas');
canvas.width = width;
canvas.height = height;
const context = canvas.getContext('2d');
context.drawImage(image, x, y, width, height, 0, 0, width, height);

Now there's only one thing left to do: return the base64-encoded data of the cropped part.

return canvas.toDataURL('image/jpeg');

Here's the full function that powers cropping:

interface Props {
  x: number;
  y: number;
  width: number;
  height: number;
  src: string;

export async function getPartOfImage({
}: Props): Promise<string | undefined> {
  if (width === 0 || height === 0) {
  const image = new Image();
  return new Promise((resolve) => {
    image.src = src;
    image.crossOrigin = 'Anonymous';

    // remember that loading image is async
    image.addEventListener('load', () => {
      const canvas = document.createElement('canvas');
      const context = canvas.getContext('2d');

      if (!context) {

      canvas.width = width;
      canvas.height = height;
      context.drawImage(image, x, y, width, height, 0, 0, width, height);
      const croppedData = canvas.toDataURL('image/jpeg');


Cool, that's pretty neat. But let's try to make it more interactive and see how somebody can use it in real life in a simple React application.

Let's use @bmunozg/react-image-area to allow selecting part of the image as a crop area. We're keeping the selected area in the state in areas variable, and handling changes to the selected area by calling onChangeHandler with the new area that the user has selected.

const [croppedImage, setCroppedImage] = useState<string | undefined>(undefined);
const [areas, setAreas] = useState<IArea[]>([]);
// ...
return (
    onChange={(areas) => onChangeHandler(areas, source)}
    <SourceImage />

And here's how the handler looks like:

const onChangeHandler = useMemo(
  () => async (areas: IArea[], image: string) => {
    setAreas(areas); // let's store selected area

    const { naturalWidth, clientWidth } = imageRef.current ?? {
      naturalWidth: 0,
      clientWidth: 0,

    // let's not divide by 0
    if (naturalWidth === 0) {

    // the image in the browser might not be rendered at 100% of its width
    //  so we need to adjust the widths sent to cropping function, since it operates
    //  on dimensions of full width of the image
    const ratio = clientWidth / naturalWidth;

    const area = areas[0];

    // we only set new crop after user has finished dragging the crop area
    if (!area.isChanging) {
      const { x, y, width, height } = area;
      // same function that was used before to get cropped image using Canvas
      const screenshotArea = await getPartOfImage({
        x: x / ratio,
        y: y / ratio,
        width: width / ratio,
        height: height / ratio,
        src: image,
      if (screenshotArea) {
        setScreenshotSize({ width: area.width, height: area.height });

There's a need for some trickery to get the right crop if the source image renders at a reduced size. The crop area renders over the image, which is rendered in a flex layout, potentially not a full size. But the crop function getPartOfImage operates on the full-size dimensions. That's why we need to calculate the ratio to scale the crop size and x, y positions to match the image's actual size.

And voila. Here's the full version of the app.

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