Getting started

  1. How KO works and what benefits it brings
  2. Downloading and installing


  1. Creating view models with observables
  2. Working with observable arrays

Computed observables

  1. Using computed observables
  2. Writable computed observables
  3. How dependency tracking works
  4. Pure computed observables
  5. Reference


Controlling text and appearance

  1. The visible and hidden bindings
  2. The text binding
  3. The html binding
  4. The class and css bindings
  5. The style binding
  6. The attr binding

Control flow

  1. The foreach binding
  2. The if and ifnot bindings
  3. The with and using bindings
  4. The let binding
  5. The component binding
  6. Binding lifecycle events

Working with form fields

  1. The click binding
  2. The event binding
  3. The submit binding
  4. The enable and disable bindings
  5. The value binding
  6. The textInput binding
  7. The hasFocus binding
  8. The checked binding
  9. The options binding
  10. The selectedOptions binding
  11. The uniqueName binding

Rendering templates

  1. The template binding

Binding syntax

  1. The data-bind syntax
  2. The binding context

Creating custom bindings

  1. Creating custom bindings
  2. Controlling descendant bindings
  3. Supporting virtual elements
  4. Custom disposal logic
  5. Preprocessing: Extending the binding syntax


  1. Overview: What components and custom elements offer
  2. Defining and registering components
  3. The component binding
  4. Using custom elements
  5. Advanced: Custom component loaders

Further techniques

  1. Loading and saving JSON data
  2. Extending observables
  3. Deferred updates
  4. Rate-limiting observables
  5. Unobtrusive event handling
  6. Using fn to add custom functions
  7. Microtasks
  8. Asynchronous error handling


  1. The mapping plugin

More information

  1. Browser support
  2. Getting help
  3. Links to tutorials & examples
  4. Usage with AMD using RequireJs (Asynchronous Module Definition)

The "value" binding


The value binding links the associated DOM element’s value with a property on your view model. This is typically useful with form elements such as <input>, <select> and <textarea>.

When the user edits the value in the associated form control, it updates the value on your view model. Likewise, when you update the value in your view model, this updates the value of the form control on screen.

Note: If you’re working with checkboxes or radio buttons, use the checked binding to read and write your element’s checked state, not the value binding.


<p>Login name: <input data-bind="value: userName" /></p>
<p>Password: <input type="password" data-bind="value: userPassword" /></p>

<script type="text/javascript">
    var viewModel = {
        userName: ko.observable(""),        // Initially blank
        userPassword: ko.observable("abc"), // Prepopulate


  • Main parameter

    KO sets the element’s value property to your parameter value. Any previous value will be overwritten.

    If this parameter is an observable value, the binding will update the element’s value whenever the value changes. If the parameter isn’t observable, it will only set the element’s value once and will not update it again later.

    If you supply something other than a number or a string (e.g., you pass an object or an array), the displayed text will be equivalent to yourParameter.toString() (that’s usually not very useful, so it’s best to supply string or numeric values).

    Whenever the user edits the value in the associated form control, KO will update the property on your view model. KO will always attempt to update your view model when the value has been modified and a user transfers focus to another DOM node (i.e., on the change event), but you can also trigger updates based on other events by using the valueUpdate parameter described below.

  • Additional parameters

    • valueUpdate

      If your binding also includes a parameter called valueUpdate, this defines additional browser events KO should use to detect changes besides the change event. The following string values are the most commonly useful choices:

      • "input" - updates your view model when the value of an <input> or <textarea> element changes. Note that this event is only raised by reasonably modern browsers (e.g., IE 9+).
      • "keyup" - updates your view model when the user releases a key
      • "keypress" - updates your view model when the user has typed a key. Unlike keyup, this updates repeatedly while the user holds a key down
      • "afterkeydown" - updates your view model as soon as the user begins typing a character. This works by catching the browser’s keydown event and handling the event asynchronously. This does not work in some mobile browsers.
    • valueAllowUnset

      See Note 2 below. Note that valueAllowUnset is only applicable when using value to control selection on a <select> element. On other elements it has no effect.

Note 1: Getting value updates instantly from inputs

If you are trying to bind an <input type="text" /> or <textarea> to get instant updates to your viewmodel, use the the textInput binding. It has better support for browser edge cases than any combination of valueUpdate options.

Note 2: Working with drop-down lists (i.e., <select> elements)

Knockout has special support for drop-down lists (i.e., <select> elements). The value binding works in conjunction with the options binding to let you read and write values that are arbitrary JavaScript objects, not just string values. This is very useful if you want to let the user select from a set of model objects. For examples of this, see the options binding or for handling multi-select lists, see the documentation for the selectedOptions binding.

You can also use the value binding with a <select> element that does not use the options binding. In this case, you can choose to specify your <option> elements in markup or build them using the foreach or template bindings. You can even nest options within <optgroup> elements and Knockout will set the selected value appropriately.

Using valueAllowUnset with <select> elements

Normally, when you use the value binding on a <select> element, it means that you want the associated model value to describe which item in the <select> is selected. But what happens if you set the model value to something that has no corresponding entry in the list? The default behavior is for Knockout to overwrite your model value to reset it to whatever is already selected in the dropdown, thereby preventing the model and UI from getting out of sync.

However, sometimes you might not want that behavior. If instead you want Knockout to allow your model observable to take values that have no corresponding entry in the <select>, then specify valueAllowUnset: true. In this case, whenever your model value cannot be represented in the <select>, then the <select> simply has no selected value at that time, which is visually represented by it being blank. When the user later selects an entry from the dropdown, this will be written to your model as usual. For example:

    Select a country:
    <select data-bind="options: countries,
                       optionsCaption: 'Choose one...',
                       value: selectedCountry,
                       valueAllowUnset: true"></select>

<script type="text/javascript">
    var viewModel = {
        countries: ['Japan', 'Bolivia', 'New Zealand'],
        selectedCountry: ko.observable('Latvia')

In the above example, selectedCountry will retain the value 'Latvia', and the dropdown will be blank, because there is no corresponding option.

If valueAllowUnset had not been enabled, then Knockout would have overwritten selectedCountry with undefined, so that it would match the value of the 'Choose one...' caption entry.

Note 3: Updating observable and non-observable property values

If you use value to link a form element to an observable property, KO is able to set up a 2-way binding so that changes to either affect the other.

However, if you use value to link a form element to a non-observable property (e.g., a plain old string, or an arbitrary JavaScript expression), KO will do the following:

  • If you reference a simple property, i.e., it is just a regular property on your view model, KO will set the form element’s initial state to the property value, and when the form element is edited, KO will write the changes back to your property. It cannot detect when the property changes (because it isn’t observable), so this is only a 1-way binding.

  • If you reference something that is not a simple property, e.g., the result of a function call or comparison operation, KO will set the form element’s initial state to that value, but it will not be able to write any changes back when the user edits the form element. In this case it’s a one-time-only value setter, not an ongoing binding that reacts to changes.


<!-- Two-way binding. Populates textbox; syncs both ways. -->
<p>First value: <input data-bind="value: firstValue" /></p>

<!-- One-way binding. Populates textbox; syncs only from textbox to model. -->
<p>Second value: <input data-bind="value: secondValue" /></p>

<!-- No binding. Populates textbox, but doesn't react to any changes. -->
<p>Third value: <input data-bind="value: secondValue.length > 8" /></p>

<script type="text/javascript">
    var viewModel = {
        firstValue: ko.observable("hello"), // Observable
        secondValue: "hello, again"         // Not observable

Note 4: Using the value binding with the checked binding

The checked binding should be used to bind a view model property against the value of a checkbox (<input type='checkbox'>) or radio button (<input type='radio'>). If you do include the value binding with the checked binding on one of these elements, then the value binding acts similarly to the checkedValue option that can be used with the checked binding and will control the value that is used for updating your view model.

Note 5: Interaction with jQuery

Knockout will use jQuery, if it is present, for handling UI events such as change. To disable this behavior and instruct Knockout to always use native event handling, you can set the following option in your code before calling ko.applyBindings:

ko.options.useOnlyNativeEvents = true;


None, other than the core Knockout library.