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40 Useful jQuery Techniques and Plugins

Over the last year, Smashing Magazine has evolved. We’ve been publishing fewer lists and more in-depth articles about design and Web development. We have invited professionals and high-profile developers to write for us. We’ve been investing more resources in the quality and relevance of our articles. We’ve also explored new formats; and on weekends we’ve been publishing more inspirational pieces, leaving the in-depth articles to weekdays.

We’ve tried our best to fuel the growing appetite of our readers for more advanced articles, but recently we’ve been receiving more requests for carefully selected, useful round-ups. We are not big fans of lists either, but the format is useful and — if the resources are relevant — can be extremely helpful. Therefore, we’ve decided to add a couple of round-ups per month as a bonus to our regular articles. Instead of replacing the main articles, we will add round-ups on top of our regular schedule. If you don’t like round-ups or find them inappropriate, please feel free to skip them. How does this work for you?

In this post, we present 40 useful but obscure jQuery plug-ins that will hopefully help you improve the user experience on your websites. We look forward to your ideas and suggestions in the comments to this post.

Tips, Hints, Navigation Link

TipTip jQuery Plugin
TipTip detects the edges of the browser window and will make sure the tooltip stays within the current window size. As a result the tooltip will adjust itself to be displayed above, below, to the left or to the right of the element with TipTip applied to it, depending on what is necessary to stay within the browser window. TipTip is a very lightweight and intelligent custom tooltip jQuery plugin. It uses ZERO images and is completely customizable via CSS.

TipTip jQuery Plugin

Contextual Slideout Tips With jQuery and CSS31
A set of contextual slideout tips with jQuery and CSS3, which are ideal for product pages and online tours.


jQuery Slider plugin (Safari style)
jQuery Slider is easy to use and multifunctional jQuery plugin.

jQuery Slider plugin (Safari style)

jSquares is a jQuery plugin that pops up an image and a description in an overlay on hover. It is basically identical to the image grid found on www.ted.com3. Works like a charm in IE6+, FF 3+, Safari 3+ and Opera 10.


Single sprite navigation is great, but we all know it can get a little bit tedious. All that measuring of pixel perfect photoshop slices, careful coding of your CSS and subsequent calculator bashing is enough to drive anyone to start microwaving fluffy kittens. Wouldn’t it be great to have a fancy online tool to take care of all the boring stuff for you in a few simple clicks? Well wish no more…


Jquery Two Sided Multi Selector
This Plugin converts a multi select list into a two-sided multi-select list. This means you display a list of options in the left hand box and items you select are moved into the right hand box.

Jquery Two Sided Multi Selector

jQuery MegaMenu Plugin6

jQuery MegaMenu Plugin7

jQuery Keyboard Navigation Plugin
The jQuery Keyboard Navigation Plugin provides the capability for elements on a page to be navigated and activated via the keyboard’s up, down, right and left arrow keys.

jQuery Keyboard Navigation Plugin

FullCalendar – Full-sized Calendar jQuery Plugin8
FullCalendar is a jQuery plugin that provides a full-sized, drag & drop calendar like the one below. It uses AJAX to fetch events on-the-fly for each month and is easily configured to use your own feed format (an extension is provided for Google Calendar). It is visually customizable and exposes hooks for user-triggered events (like clicking or dragging an event).

FullCalendar - Full-sized Calendar jQuery Plugin9

Forms Link

iPhone Style Radio and Checkbox Switches using JQuery and CSS10
A simple technique for creating radio button and checkbox switches with jQuery.

jQuery plugin: Tablesorter 2.011

jQuery UI Selectmenu: An ARIA-Accessible Plugin for Styling a Custom HTML Select Element 12
Our latest contribution to labs is the selectmenu plugin, which is designed to duplicate and extend the functionality of a native HTML select element, and lets you customize the look and feel, add icons, and create hierarchy within the options. Best of all, it’s built with progressive enhancement and accessibility in mind, has all the native mouse and keyboard controls, and is ThemeRoller-ready.

jQuery UI Selectmenu: An ARIA-Accessible Plugin for Styling a Custom HTML Select Element 13

A Better jQuery In-Field Label Plugin
This is a pretty nice effect, and it can really help to save space on forms. There are a billion different ways to implement this, and I don’t suggest you use the example from above because that was just a quick way to show the effect. So let’s walk through a couple of different implementation approaches and figure out the best way to implement this feature.

   A Better jQuery In-Field Label Plugin

Sliding Labels14
Tim Wright came up with a jQuery technique that presents labels in input fields by default but then slides them to the left (or up) rather than removing them on click. If JavaScript is turned off, the labels are displayed above the input fields. The small jQuery snippet works in all major browsers and can be used for input and textarea elements.

Sliding Labels 15

Login or Signup with jQuery16
Some users doesn’t like to filling the registration form. So that I had implemented login and singup fields in same block just controlling with jquery and PHP. It’s is very simple javascript and basic PHP code.


Uniform – Sexy forms with jQuery
Have you ever wished you could style checkboxes, drop down menus, radio buttons, and file upload inputs? Ever wished you could control the look and feel of your form elements between all browsers? If so, Uniform is your new best friend. Uniform masks your standard form controls with custom themed controls. It works in sync with your real form elements to ensure accessibility and compatibility.

Uniform - Sexy forms with jQuery

Slideshows and Galleries Link

jQuery Quicksand plugin18
Reorder and filter items with a nice shuffling animation.

jQuery Quicksand plugin19

Nivo Slider: Slideshow jQuery Script20
Nivo Slider is a simple and powerful jQuery image slider plug-in that fits the bill. The tool has nine unique transition effects built in, as well as plenty of options to fiddle with: for instance, you can define functions to be applied before and after the image has changed, set the animation speed and activate pause on hover.

jQuery imageless buttons a la Google21

#grid is a little tool that inserts a grid onto the Web page. You can hold the grid in place and toggle it between the foreground and background. To display the grid, just press a hot key on your keyboard, and you can set your own short keys to switch views. #grid comes set up with a 980 pixel-wide container, with 20-pixel gutters, and assumes one lead of 20 pixels. You can download the source code (JavaScript and CSS) and use classes for multiple grids.


Improving The Content Link

Dynamic Footnotes With CSS and jQuery24
Lukas Mathis has come up with an elegant solution to improve user experience with footnotes: his jQuery script shows the content of footnotes as soon as the user indicates that they are interested in it – i.e. when they move the cursor over the footnote symbol.


jQuery Captify Plugin v1.1.3
Captify is a plugin for jQuery written by Brian Reavis to display simple, pretty image captions that appear on rollover. It has been tested on Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and the wretched Internet Explorer. Captify was inspired by ImageCaptions, another jQuery plugin for displaying captions like these. The goal of Captify is to be easy to use, small/simple, and completely ready for use in production environments (unlike ImageCaptions at the moment).

jQuery Captify Demo (v1.1.3)

Copy to Clipboard with ZeroClipboard, Flash 10 and jQuery26
With today’s post I will show you a contrived example to get you started. I eventually hope to add this to the contextMenu.js jQuery plugin that I use, but for now this should be pretty straight forward. I do want to note that in the demo and download I am loading the latest version of the jQuery library (1.3.1) from Google’s CDN for the first time in any of my posts. For more information on how to do this see the instructions from Google.

         Copy to Clipboard with ZeroClipboard, Flash 10 and jQuery27

Layouts Link

Columnizer jQuery Plugin 28
This jQuery plugin will help you create a multi-column layout without complex CSS hacks. Works across all major browsers.

Columnizer jQuery Plugin 29

jQuery Grid Plugin 30

jQuery Grid Plugin 31

Charts and Graphs Link

Dygraphs: Create interactive graphs from open source Javascript library 32
Dygraphs is an open source JavaScript library that produces an interactive, zoom-able charts of the present time series. It is mainly designed to display the dense data sets and enable the users to explore and interpret them. It is a JavaScript Visualization Library.

 Dygraphs: Create interactive graphs from open source Javascript library 33

gMap – Google Maps Plugin For jQuery
gMap is a lightweight jQuery plugin that helps you embed Google Maps into your website. With only 2 KB in size it is very flexible and highly customizable.

gMap - Google Maps Plugin For jQuery

10 jQuery Plugins for Easier Google Map Installation 34
The plugins below offer not only an easier method to install a map, they also offer the option to add extra functionality, should you choose to need them. They also all come with a varied degree of docs, some are extensive and some non-existent, so choose your plugin wisely.

10 jQuery Plugins for Easier Google Map Installation 35

Images and Visual Effects Link

jQuery imageless buttons a la Google
This jQuery plugin is an attempt to recreate Google’s imageless buttons and prove that it doesn’t take a whole team of engineers and an endless cycle of code revision and quality control (their own words) to pull this off. I don’t know how Google did it, but my buttons automatically adapt to paddings and other styling you wish to use. They allow for a lot of stylistic customisatoin via a few lines of css while keeping all the display critical css rules hidden deep inside the plugin.

jQuery imageless buttons a la Google

jQuery Presentation Plugin
jQuery Presentation Plugin: Say NO to Keynote!

  jQuery Presentation Plugin

jQuery pageSlide
This plugin allows any developer to recreate a similar interaction on their own website using a few simple lines of Javascript. By attaching the method to an anchor tag, pageSlide wraps the original body content into a wrapper and creates an additional block for the secondary content load. The slide is animated whenever the click event is invoked.

jQuery pageSlide

jqFancyTransitions: jQuery Image Rotator Plugin36
jqFancyTransitions is easy-to-use jQuery plugin for displaying your photos as slideshow with fancy transition effects.

jqFancyTransitions: jQuery Image Rotator Plugin37

A demo of AD Gallery38
A highly customizable gallery/showcase plugin for jQuery.

A demo of AD Gallery39

Pines Notify jQuery Plugin40
Pines Notify’s features include: timed hiding with visual effects, sticky (no automatic hiding) notices, optional hide button, supports dynamically updating text, title, icon, type, stacks allow notice sets to stack independently, control stack direction and push to top or bottom.

Pines Notify jQuery Plugin41

Animate Panning Slideshow with jQuery42
In today’s tutorial we’ll take the makings of a classic slideshow, but use a different kind of transition to animate between slides. It may not fit every project, but diversity is always welcome in the world of web design.

Animate Panning Slideshow with jQuery43

Sponsor Flip Wall With jQuery and CSS 44
Designing and coding a sponsors page is part of the developer’s life (at least the lucky developer’s life, if it is about a personal site of theirs). It, however, follows different rules than those for the other pages of the site. You have to find a way to fit a lot of information and organize it clearly, so that the emphasis is put on your sponsors, and not on other elements of your design.

Sponsor Flip Wall With jQuery and CSS 45

Last Click Link

CoffeeScript is a little programming language that compiles JavaScript while simplifying the code that developers actually have to deal with. It works with current JavaScript libraries and compiles clean code, leaving even comments intact. Once developers familiarize themselves with how CoffeeScript works, they could potentially save themselves a lot of time and headaches with the simplified code.


Brosho ‘Design in the Browser’ jQuery Plugin46
With this Plugin you can style your markup right in your browser with a build-in element selector and CSS editor. Generate the CSS code of altered elements with one click and use it in your own stylesheet.

Brosho 'Design in the Browser' jQuery Plugin47

gameQuery – a javascript game engine with jQuery48
gameQuery is a jQuery plug-in to help make javascript game development easier by adding some simple game-related classes. It’s still in an early stage of development and may change a lot in future versions. The project has a Google Code page where the SVN repository of the project is hosted and a twitter page where you can follow the daily progress of the development.

gameQuery - a javascript game engine with jQuery49

Mind-blowing JavaScript Experiments50
The following JavaScript experiments demonstrates the amazing capabilities of the modern browsers such as Chrome and Safari. In this post I will showcase to you an array of experiments that will surely blows your mind off.

   Mind-blowing JavaScript Experiments51

Is adding round-ups to our regular content a good idea? Link

Footnotes Link

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Vitaly Friedman loves beautiful content and doesn’t like to give in easily. Vitaly is writer, speaker, author and editor-in-chief of Smashing Magazine. He runs responsive Web design workshops, online workshops and loves solving complex UX, front-end and performance problems in large companies. Get in touch.

  1. 1

    Lists definitely have their place as they help me get straight to work, with that being said, you guys are doing a great job in trying to find a cogent medium for the diversity of skill levels and roles that come here by experimenting with all types of articles. I love the variety in the posts, especially all of the UX/IA/Content Planning in depth articles, as they provide a wonderful reference point for onboarding non ux/designer types on a project. Thanks again.

  2. 2

    You guys have to check out
    It uses JQUERY and it’s sick!

  3. 3

    I’ve finally started to learn some JQuery so this article should come in very handy. Round-up articles work for me as long as they’re useful. Thanks!

  4. 4

    Nice collection thank you

  5. 5

    How about the jQuery Increment plugin?
    …for easy manipulation of numeric form input fields.

    — SEAN O (author)

  6. 6

    Some really cool jQuery plug-ins here! I really enjoy the sliding form label plug-in.

    Round ups are great if the content is fresh AND useful. With the vast number of jQuery plug-ins coming out these days someone has to dig up and present the gems.

  7. 7

    Thanks for including my tutorial among these other great resources! (iPhone style radio/checkboxes on

  8. 8

    Thx for the inspiring round-up. Hopefully you’ll continue with this.

  9. 9

    Łukasz Mazurek

    April 27, 2010 1:04 pm

    I wrote a jQuery plugin for easy menu creation – you can add an image based menu with few lines of css (for progressive degradation), one sprite and one line of JS. Here’s how:

  10. 10

    Krisztian Szi

    April 27, 2010 1:21 pm

    why jquery? what about other frameworks?
    my favorite ist mootools ;-)

  11. 11

    Used sparingly, these types of articles are very helpful. I am glad Smashing Mag has moved more toward original content, and such content is supported well by the sprinkling of roundups that showcase the talents of outside designers/developers. I lean toward a 90/10 ratio, but that’s just me.

  12. 12

    Denis Ristic

    April 27, 2010 1:29 pm

    Great article!

  13. 13

    Awesome! I have seen many, many jquery plugins… and these are some of the most remarkable I have seen. Thank you for taking the time to search these out…

  14. 14

    Dear Smashing Magazine Owners

    My name is Ali and i am UI Developer working in Mumbai, there was a requirement from my client to make a carousel which works both horizontally and vertically, i need to share that functionality on Smashing Magazine for other viewers, could you please do let me know how am i am suppose to do that?

    Looking forward to hear from you.

    Kind regards

  15. 15

    this is a great post

  16. 16

    Thanks for the smashing compilation. But what about a compilation for WP plugins?

  17. 17

    Alex Batista

    April 27, 2010 4:20 pm

    Congratulations Vitaly! One more perfect post and a lot of content.

  18. 18

    Excellent post that I love deverdad esuvo well. I would like to visit this post “20 tutorials for jQuery lovers” —>

  19. 19

    That Guy John

    April 27, 2010 5:51 pm

    Microwave fluffy kittens! That is horrible! lol

    jQuery rocks though!

  20. 20

    I love the roundup keep it coming, search results doesn’t give this type of results in one single page


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