How to toggle visibility with React

If you’re new to the framework you might be wondering what the best way to toggle visibility with React is. In this tutorial we’ll see how to achieve this using conditional rendering.

The theory

There are three steps to this:

  1. Add an isHidden property to the component state
  2. Trigger a function that toggles the isHidden value between true and false
  3. Render the component when isHidden is false

React re renders a component each time the state changes, so you can add a conditional statement in the render function to display the component if isHidden is set to false.

This is done by adding this expression to your JSX:

{!this.state.isHidden && <Child />}

This will output the Child component if this.state.isHidden is false. The expression makes use of the && operator, which won’t evaluate the second expression if the first expression returns false when evaluated.

After that, all you need is a function to toggle the value of this.state.isHidden between true and false, and an event handler that calls the function.

Here’s a working example in code:

The Code


class Parent extends React.Component {
  constructor () {
    this.state = {
      isHidden: true
  toggleHidden () {
      isHidden: !this.state.isHidden
  render () {
    return (
        <button onClick={this.toggleHidden.bind(this)} >
          Click to show modal
        {!this.state.isHidden && <Child />}

const Child = () => (
<div className='modal'>
      Hello, World!

const app = document.getElementById('app')
ReactDOM.render(Parent, app)

Note: this code is using ES2015 features. You’ll need to run it through a transpiler like Babel.

What’s going on?

You have two components - a Parent component and a Child component. The Child component is the component you are going to toggle the visibility of.

You set the initial state of the Parent component to include the property isHidden, and set the value to true. The conditional statement in the render function returns false, and the Child component isn’t rendered.

Then you have a toggleHidden function. It toggles isHidden between true and false. In this example, thi function will fire when a button is clicked, but you can attach it to whatever you want. Often you’ll need to pass it to a child component as a prop.

Once the toggleHidden function is fired, the state will update and the component will re render. If isHidden is false, the Child component will be output in the JSX and rendered in the DOM.

Pretty simple really.

Any questions, leave a comment.