JavaScript React

Reset a File Input in React

One of the common tasks when working with forms in React is handling file inputs. Whether you are building a file uploader or simply need a way for users to select files, learning how to reset a file input is an important skill to have. In this article, we will cover how to reset a file input in React, as well as best practices and additional resources.


A file input is a form element that allows users to select and upload files. In React, you can use the <input type="file" /> element to create a file input. It is important to understand how to reset a file input in certain situations, such as when the form needs to be cleared or the user needs to select a new file.

How to Reset a File Input in React

Resetting a file input in React is a simple process. Follow these steps to reset a file input:

  1. Select the file input element using ref
  2. Set the value of the ref to an empty string

Here is an example of resetting a file input in React using these steps:

import React, { useRef } from 'react';

function MyForm() {
  const fileInput = useRef(null);

  const handleReset = () => {
    fileInput.current.value = '';

  return (
      <input type="file" ref={fileInput} />
      <button type="button" onClick={handleReset}>Reset</button>
}Code language: JavaScript (javascript)

In this example, we used the useRef hook to create a ref for the file input element. When the handleReset function is called, it sets the value of the ref to an empty string, effectively resetting the file input.

Best Practices for Resetting a File Input in React

There are a few best practices to keep in mind when resetting a file input in React:

  • Make sure to set the value of the ref to an empty string, not null or undefined. Setting the value to null or undefined will not reset the file input.
  • If you are using a controlled component pattern for your file input, you will need to update the state as well as the ref value in order to reset the input.
  • Avoid resetting the file input unnecessarily, as this can cause confusion for the user and create unnecessary performance overhead.


In summary, resetting a file input in React is a straightforward process. Simply select the file input element using ref and set the value to an empty string. Be sure to follow best practices, such as avoiding unnecessary resets and updating the state for controlled components, to ensure a smooth user experience.

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