Polymer: Detect Outside Click of Custom Element

Sometimes you may find yourself wanting to detect clicks outside of your custom element in Polymer, the most popular use cases are when: closing a menu or closing a dropdown when the user clicks outside of it.

Below is a quick and easy way to achieve this:

  1. Add an event listener to the document (*If your component opens a menu or dropdown when clicked then I would suggest only adding the event listener when that element is ‘opened’ for efficiency.)
  2. Add the listener function that checks if the click event is inside or outside of the component. You can use Polymer.dom(event).path to get the path/array of nodes through which the event passes through and check if any of the nodes match the current component.


openMenu() {
   //code to open menu here
   document.addEventListener('tap', this._checkOutsideClick.bind(this));

closeMenu() {
   //code to close menu here
   document.removeEventListener('tap', this._checkOutsideClick.bind(this));

 * This function is triggered on any click.
 * @param {Object} e - the event
_checkOutsideClick(e) {
   // get the array of nodes through which the event passes through
   // if any of the nodes match the component element then we know
   // the click was inside of the element, so do nothing. if none match,
   // then we know the click was outside of the element so close the menu

   const path = Polymer.dom(e).path;
   let insideMenuClick = false;

   if(!_.isEmpty(path)) {
     insideMenuClick = !_.isEmpty(path.find((el) => { return el == this; }));

   if(insideMenuClick) {
      //inside element
   } else {
      //outside element


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