Handsontable tutorial

last modified October 18, 2023

In this article we show how to create a data grid in JavaScript with Handsontable module.


Handsontable is a JavaScript library for creating a data grid in JavaScript. It creates a Spreadsheet-like experience.

In this article we work with Handsontable and Gulp 4. We are using the community edition of the Handsontable component.

Setting up Handsontable

First, we install Handsontable

$ npm init -y

We initiate a new Node application.

$ npm i handsontable

We install Handsontable.

$ npm i --global gulp-cli
$ npm i gulp --save-dev
$ npm i --save-dev gulp-minify

We install gulp-cli, gulp, and gulp-minify modules. You may also run npm link gulp to create a symbolic link the globally installed gulp.

$ mkdir -p src/js

We create src/js diretories. In the src/js subdirectory, we have the main.js file.

Handsontable example

In the following example, we generate a data grid with Handsontable. We use Gulp to manage our files.

│   │   index.html
│   ├───css
│   │       handsontable.full.min.css
│   └───js
│           handsontable.full.min.js
│           main-min.js
│   │   index.html
│   │


This is the project structure after being built with Gulp.

let data = [
  ["", "Alex", "Frank", "Robert", "Lucy"],
  ["2017", 99, 44, 12, 14],
  ["2018", 22, 21, 44, 67],
  ["2019", 39, 53, 76, 43]

let container = document.getElementById('example');
let hot = new Handsontable(container, {
  data: data,
  rowHeaders: true,
  colHeaders: true,
  licenseKey: 'non-commercial-and-evaluation'

In the main.js file, we create an instance of the Handsontable. We add data to the table and configure it.

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
    <meta charset="UTF-8">
    <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">
    <meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="ie=edge">
    <script src="js/handsontable.full.min.js"></script>
    <link rel="stylesheet" href="css/handsontable.full.min.css">
    <title>Home page</title>

<div id="example"></div>

<script src="js/main-min.js"></script>


The data grid is shown in this file. It replaces the div component. We include the Handsontable dependencies and our minified main JavaScript file.

const gulp = require("gulp");
const minify = require("gulp-minify");

gulp.task('copyHtml', () => {
  return gulp.src('src/index.html')

gulp.task('copyJS', () => {
  return gulp.src('node_modules/handsontable/dist/handsontable.full.min.js')

gulp.task('copyCSS', () => {
  return gulp.src('node_modules/handsontable/dist/handsontable.full.min.css')

gulp.task('minify', () => {
  return gulp.src('src/js/main.js', { allowEmpty: true })
    .pipe(minify({noSource: true}))

gulp.task('default', gulp.series(['copyHtml', 'minify', 'copyJS', 'copyCSS']));

The gulpfile.js copies and processes the files into the build directory.

$ gulp
[10:30:03] Using gulpfile ~\Documents\javascript\hndstable\gulpfile.js
[10:30:03] Starting 'default'...
[10:30:03] Starting 'copyHtml'...
[10:30:03] Finished 'copyHtml' after 31 ms
[10:30:03] Starting 'minify'...
[10:30:03] Finished 'minify' after 35 ms
[10:30:03] Starting 'copyJS'...
[10:30:03] Finished 'copyJS' after 132 ms
[10:30:03] Starting 'copyCSS'...
[10:30:03] Finished 'copyCSS' after 13 ms
[10:30:03] Finished 'default' after 217 ms

We run the gulp command. It executes its tasks and prepares the page in the build directory.

$ firefox build/index.html

We run the page from the build directory.

Displaying data in Handsontable component
Figure: Displaying data in Handsontable component


Handsontable documentation

In this article we have used Handsontable to create a data grid in JavaScript.


My name is Jan Bodnar and I am a passionate programmer with many years of programming experience. I have been writing programming articles since 2007. So far, I have written over 1400 articles and 8 e-books. I have over eight years of experience in teaching programming.

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