How can I write a javascript/jquery function that replaces text in the html document without affecting the markup, only the text content?

For instance if I want to replace the word "style" with "no style" here:

<td style="width:300px">This TD has style</td>
<td style="width:300px">This TD has <span class="style100">style</span> too</td>

I don't want the replacement to affect the markup, just the text content that is visible to the user.

+4  A: 

You will have to look for the text nodes on your document, I use a recursive function like this:

function replaceText(oldText, newText, node){ 
  node = node || document.body; // base node 

  var childs = node.childNodes, i = 0;

  while(node = childs[i]){ 
    if (node.nodeType == 3){ // text node found, do the replacement
      if (node.textContent) {
        node.textContent = node.textContent.replace(oldText, newText);
      } else { // support to IE
        node.nodeValue = node.nodeValue.replace(oldText, newText);
    } else { // not a text mode, look forward
      replaceText(oldText, newText, node); 

If you do it in that way, your markup and event handlers will remain intact.

Edit: Changed code to support IE, since the textnodes on IE don't have a textContent property, in IE you should use the nodeValue property and it also doesn't implements the Node interface.

Check an example here.

Thanks a lot @CMS, you helped me resolve this problem:
`` should work in all browsers.
awesome piece of code, can we make it any faster?
+3  A: 

Use the :contains selector to find elements with matching text and then replace their text.

$(":contains(style)").each(function() {
  for (node in this.childNodes) {
    if (node.nodeType == 3) { // text node
      node.textContent = node.textContent.replace("style", "no style");

Unfortunately you can't use text() for this as it strips out HTML from all descendant nodes, not just child nodes and the replacement won't work as expected.

Don't use a "" to loop through an array-like-object.. a traditional for/while loop is much faster.