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react-modal aims to be fully accessible, using the WAI-ARIA guidelines to support users of assistive technologies. This page describes some of react-modal's accessibility-oriented features, along with their configuration options.

The app element

It is important for users of screenreaders that other page content be hidden (via the aria-hidden attribute) while the modal is open. To allow react-modal to do this, you should call Modal.setAppElement with a query selector identifying the root of your app. For example, if your app content is located inside an element with the ID root, you could place the following call somewhere in your code before any modals are opened:


You can also pass a DOM element directly, so that the above example could be rewritten:


Using a selector that matches multiple elements or passing a list of DOM elements will hide all of the elements. Note that this list won't be automatically pruned if elements are removed from the DOM, so you may want to call Modal.setAppElement when any such changes are made, or pass a live HTMLCollection as the value.

If you are already applying the aria-hidden attribute to your app content through other means, you can pass the ariaHideApp={false} prop to your modal to avoid getting a warning that your app element is not specified.

Using Modal.setAppElement will not embed react-modal into your react app as a descendent component. It will just help boost up the app accessiblity.

Keyboard navigation

When the modal is opened, it restricts keyboard navigation using the tab key to elements within the modal content. This ensures that elements outside the modal (which are not visible while the modal is open) do not receive focus unexpectedly.

By default, when the modal is closed, focus will be restored to the element that was focused before the modal was opened. To disable this behavior, you can pass the shouldReturnFocusAfterClose={false} prop to your modal.

The modal can be closed using the escape key, unless the shouldCloseOnEsc={false} prop is passed. Disabling this behavior may cause accessibility issues for keyboard users, however, so it is not recommended.

ARIA attributes

Besides the aria-hidden attribute which is applied to the app element when the modal is shown, there are many other ARIA attributes which you can use to make your app more accessible. A complete list of ARIA attributes can be found in the ARIA specification.

One ARIA attribute is given a dedicated prop by react-modal: you should use the contentLabel prop to provide a label for the modal content (via aria-label) if there is no visible label on the screen. If the modal is already labeled with visible text, you should specify the element including the label with the aria-labelledby attribute using the aria prop described below.

To pass other ARIA attributes to your modal, you can use the aria prop, which accepts an object whose keys are the attributes you want to set (without the leading aria- prefix). For example, you could have an alert modal with a title as well as a longer description:

    labelledby: "heading",
    describedby: "full_description"
  <h1 id="heading">Alert</h1>
  <div id="full_description">
    <p>Description goes here.</p>