Modals are really common in any user interface. It can be used for alerts, to render additional information or provide a way to enter data.

In this tutorial, we will learn about the Gutenberg Component Modal and see what options does it provides to us.

If you’re interested in reading the source code of this component, head to the repository.

A great thing about this component is that you can call it anywhere in your application, but the Modal will still load in the parent node of the DOM, so it won’t be affected by any CSS rules such as overflow:hidden and such.

This is done because this component uses the function createPortal(). You can read about this in the React documentation.

The Gutenberg component Modal is built using:

  • IsolatedEventContainer – prevents certain events from propagating outside of the container; accepts ModalFrame,
  • ModalFrame – accepts ModalHeader and all children elements,
  • ModalHeader – shows the modal header with a close button.

Modal Properties

There are several properties which you can pass to the Modal component:

  • title – used in modal header,
  • onRequestClose – a function that is called when the modal should be closed,
  • contentLabelOptional. Added to the modal content element as aria-label,
  • aria – JavaScript object.
    • labelledbyOptional. Added as aria-labelledby to the modal content element. Default is modal-heading,
    • describedbyOptional. Added as aria-describedby to the modal content element.
  • focusOnMountOptional. If true, it will focus on the first element in the modal. Default is true,
  • shouldCloseOnEscOptional. If true, the modal will close when the escape key is pressed. Default is true,
  • shouldCloseOnClickOutsideOptional. If true, the modal will close when a mouse clicks occurs outside of the modal. Default is true,
  • isDismissableOptional. If false, the modal will not be dismissable and will not show the close icon. Default is true,
  • classNameOptional. If added, this class will be added to the modal content element,
  • roleOptional. This is the HTML attribute role. Default is dialog,
  • overlayClassNameOptional. If added, this class will be added to the modal overlay element.

Modal Example

Here is the example provided in the Gutenberg documentation for the Component Modal.

This example uses the withState higher order component which encapsulates the Modal component so we can use the state in the component and easily show the Modal or not.

How Gutenberg uses the Modal Component

Let’s now see how Gutenberg uses it’s own Modal component.

Image of the modal options.
Modal component used for Post options

When using the Gutenberg, you can see the Modal component being used for post options. You can browse the code of that option modal in the repository.

Here is a small part of the code used in the Options Modal component.

This function accepts an object with parameters:

  • isModalActive – if true, it will show the modal,
  • closeModal – a function that will close the modal.

Using the Modal in a Separate React Application

I will now show you how you can import this component into a separate React (or any other JS) Application. We’ll use the example above so we need only to install the dependencies and also to define the CSS (SASS).

This will not be a fully working modal since you’ll have to integrate it into your app and define some of the SASS mixins, but I’ll give you enough information that you’ll be able to implement it in a few minutes.

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The Gutenberg Component Modal is a really nice component to enhance your App’s UI and provide some additional way to manage data or show information.

By using that component in your app, you have a straight forward way of implementing a modal without too much hassle.

Have you tried using the Modal component in some of your blocks? Let’s us know about your challenges or what you’ve built with it in the comments below.

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Posted by Igor Benic

Web Developer who mainly uses WordPress for projects. Working on various project through Codeable & Toptal. Author of several ebooks at

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