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How to include html file in ReactJS anchor a tag

Understanding the Problem

Before diving into the solution, it's important to understand what we are trying to achieve. Let's say we have an HTML file and we want to include it inside a ReactJS component. By 'include', we mean that we want to render that HTML file's content when our React component is rendered.

Why This Might be Challenging

ReactJS uses a syntax extension to JavaScript called JSX. JSX produces React "elements" and it looks a lot like HTML. However, it comes with its own rules and quirks. For example, the anchor tag in HTML is written as <a>, but in JSX, it's written as <a />.

This already presents a problem since our HTML file is written with HTML syntax, not JSX. But don't worry, we will get around this issue.

Converting HTML File into a String

To include an HTML file in a ReactJS component, the first step is to convert the content of the HTML file into a string. This is necessary because we can't directly import an HTML file in our React component.

Here's a simple example of how you can convert an HTML file into a string:

const htmlFile = `
  <!DOCTYPE html>
      <h1>Welcome to My Website</h1>
      <p>This is a paragraph.</p>

In the example above, we've used backticks (`) to create a template string in JavaScript. This allows us to write multi-line strings.

Adding the String into JSX

Now, we have our HTML file as a string. But we can't just add this string into our JSX. Why? Because by default, JSX escapes all the strings you include in your JSX to prevent security vulnerabilities.

But React provides a way around this. We can use a special prop called dangerouslySetInnerHTML provided by React to insert HTML strings directly into our JSX.

function MyComponent() {
  return (
    <div dangerouslySetInnerHTML={{ __html: htmlFile }} />

In the example above, we're using dangerouslySetInnerHTML to set the HTML content of the div element. The __html key is necessary to tell React that this is an HTML string.

Be Careful

The name dangerouslySetInnerHTML is a warning that this feature can be dangerous because it may potentially open you up to cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks. Therefore, only use this feature when you absolutely trust the content you're inserting.


In conclusion, including an HTML file in a ReactJS anchor tag can be a bit tricky, but it's definitely possible. The trick is to convert the HTML file into a string and then use the dangerouslySetInnerHTML prop to insert that string into your JSX.

Remember though, with great power comes great responsibility. Be very careful when using the dangerouslySetInnerHTML prop because it can potentially open you up to XSS attacks. Always ensure that you trust the content you're inserting.

To conclude, let's think of including an HTML file in ReactJS as packing a suitcase. You can't fit an item as it is, you need to fold it (convert HTML to string), and then you need to carefully place it inside (use dangerouslySetInnerHTML). But remember, you should only pack items you trust, as they will be with you throughout your journey (rendering of your component).