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setTimeout / setInterval

Method. Evaluates an expression after a specified number of milliseconds has elapsed or every time that many milliseconds has passed.


var timeoutID = setTimeout(function, milliseconds, [arg1, arg2, ...])
var intervalID = scope.setInterval(function, milliseconds, [arg1, arg2, ...])


timeoutID is an identifier that is used only to cancel the evaluation with the clearTimeout or clearInterval method.

function is the name of function NOT a function call; no parameters, no parenthesis. E.g. func not func(). You can wrap function calls in any anonymous function. e.g. function(){doIt(5)} and NOT just doIt(5) (see below).

milliseconds is a numeric value, numeric string, or a property of an existing object in millisecond units.

The arguments are optional, and are passed to the named function.

Method of

Frame object, window object

Implemented in

Navigator 2.0


The setTimeout method calls the function after a specified amount of time. It does not evaluate the expression repeatedly. For example, if a setTimeout method specifies five seconds, the expression is evaluated after five seconds, not every five seconds.

The SetInterval method repeatedly calls the function with a fixed time delay between each call.

When passing arguments to a function within a setTimeout or setInterval call, wrap it in an anonymous function, e.g. this.setTimeout(function(){myfunc(a,b,c)}, 100)

Never pass a simple or concatenated string as the first argument of a setTimeout or setInterval call. A string will be evaluated in exactly the same way as an eval call, including the associated performance impact. For this reason, pass an anonymous function or a callback instead.

Global this problem: Code executed by setInterval() runs in a separate execution context than the function from which it was called. As a consequence, the this keyword for the called function is set to the window (or global) object, it is not the same as the this value for the function that called setTimeout. 1


Example 1. The following example displays an alert message five seconds (5,000 milliseconds) after the user clicks a button. If the user clicks the second button before the alert message is displayed, the timeout is canceled and the alert does not display.

function displayAlert() {
   alert("5 seconds have elapsed since the button was clicked.")
Click the button on the left for a reminder in 5 seconds;
click the button on the right to cancel the reminder before
it is displayed.
<INPUT TYPE="button" VALUE="5-second reminder"
<INPUT TYPE="button" VALUE="Clear the 5-second reminder"

Example 2. The following example displays the current time in a Text object. The showtime function, which is called recursively, uses the setTimeout method to update the time every second.

var timerID = null
var timerRunning = false
function stopclock(){
   timerRunning = false
function startclock(){
   // Make sure the clock is stopped
function showtime(){
   var now = new Date()
   var hours = now.getHours()
   var minutes = now.getMinutes()
   var seconds = now.getSeconds()
   var timeValue = "" + ((hours > 12) ? hours - 12 : hours)
   timeValue += ((minutes < 10) ? ":0" : ":") + minutes
   timeValue += ((seconds < 10) ? ":0" : ":") + seconds
   timeValue += (hours >= 12) ? " P.M." : " A.M."
   document.clock.face.value = timeValue
   timerID = setTimeout("showtime()",1000)
   timerRunning = true

<BODY onLoad="startclock()">
<FORM NAME="clock" onSubmit="0">
   <INPUT TYPE="text" NAME="face" SIZE=12 VALUE ="">

See also

clearTimeout method

See also:

file: /Techref/inet/iis/jscript/htm/settimeout.htm, 6KB, , updated: 2020/2/22 23:07, local time: 2024/6/16 18:10,

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