Altcademy - a Forbes magazine logo Best Coding Bootcamp 2023

How to split string in JavaScript

Getting to Know Strings

Before we dive into splitting strings in JavaScript, let's first get to know what a string is. Think of a string as a chain of characters, like beads on a necklace. Each bead (or character) has its own unique place on the string, and we can manipulate these beads in various ways. In programming, we often need to break these strings apart or 'split' them, to make data easier to understand and use.

The Split Method: An Introduction

The .split() method is our go-to tool for splitting strings in JavaScript. This method essentially turns a string into an array. If you're not familiar with arrays, think about a bookshelf. Each compartment houses a book or 'element', and we can reach for any book we need by identifying its specific compartment or 'index'.

When we use the .split() method, we're basically telling JavaScript: "Hey, I want to break this string up into smaller pieces." These pieces, or 'substrings', are stored in an array.

Here's a simple example:

let sentence = "I love JavaScript!";
let words = sentence.split(" ");

In this case, we're using a space character (" ") as the 'separator'. The output will be:

["I", "love", "JavaScript!"]

Our sentence has been split into individual words, each occupying its own place in the array.

The Magic of Separators

In the example above, we used a space as our separator. But we can use any character for this purpose. The separator tells the split method where to 'cut' the string.

let sentence = "I-love-JavaScript!";
let words = sentence.split("-");

Here, we're using a hyphen ("-") as our separator. The output will be the same as before:

["I", "love", "JavaScript!"]

No Separator? No Problem!

What if we don't use a separator? If we call the .split() method without any arguments, it will treat the entire string as a single element.

let sentence = "I love JavaScript!";
let words = sentence.split();

The output will be:

["I love JavaScript!"]

As you can see, the entire sentence is stored as one element in the array.

Splitting into Characters

Sometimes, we might want to split a string into individual characters. In this case, we use an empty string ("") as our separator.

let word = "JavaScript";
let letters = word.split("");

The output will be:

["J", "a", "v", "a", "S", "c", "r", "i", "p", "t"]

Each character in the word "JavaScript" has been split into its own element in the array.

Limiting the Split

We can also limit the number of splits by adding a second argument to the .split() method.

let sentence = "I love JavaScript!";
let limitedWords = sentence.split(" ", 2);

In this case, the output will be:

["I", "love"]

Only the first two words are split because we've set the limit to 2.


The ability to split strings is a powerful tool in any programmer's toolkit, much like a master chef's knife. The .split() method allows us to cut up our strings into manageable pieces, much like a chef dices ingredients for a meal.

Whether we're separating sentences into words or words into characters, the .split() method gives us the flexibility to manipulate and manage our data as we please. It's like magic! With a simple wave of our coding wand, we can transform a string into an array.

Remember to experiment with different separators and limits. This will help you understand how to use the .split() method more effectively. And like all magical tools, practice makes perfect. Happy coding!