Chart.js library gives us the opportunity to write our own plug-ins, using the Plugin Core API life-cycle methods, but unfortunately, the documentation does not give a detailed description of how and in what order they should be used. Let's go through step-by-step to learn how plugins should be written.

To create a plugin for Chart.js library, first you need to create a JavaScript object with appropriate named functions for any chart state you wish to modify. Chart.js calls all plugins you registered at the following chart order:

  • Initialization

    • beforeInit: Start of initialization
    • afterInit: End of initialization
  • Update

    • beforeUpdate: Start of update
    • beforeLayout: Before layout update. If false returned, layout will not be updated
    • afterLayout: After layout update
    • beforeDatasetsUpdate: Start of datasets update. If false returned, datasets will not be updated
    • beforeDatasetUpdate: Start of dataset update. If false returned, dataset will not be updated
    • afterDatasetsUpdate: End of datasets update
    • afterUpdate: End of update
  • Render:

    • beforeRender: This is called at the start of a render, before render occurs. It is only called once (except resize or other events), even if the animation will run for a number of frames. Use beforeDraw to do something on each animation frame. If false returned, chart will not be rendered
    • beforeDraw: Start of draw. If false returned, chart will not be drawn
    • beforeDatasetsDraw: Before datasets draw. If false returned, datasets will not be drawn
    • beforeDatasetDraw: Start of dataset drawing. If false returned, dataset will not be drawn
    • afterDatasetDraw: End of dataset drawing
    • afterDatasetsDraw: After datasets draw
    • afterDraw: End of draw
    • afterRender: After render occurs
  • beforeEvent: Before event handle

  • afterEvent: After event handle

  • resize: Resize

  • destroy: Destroy canvas

Chart.js plugin Core Api lifecycle

After you configure your plugin object, pass it to Chart.pluginService.register(<Plugin_Object>); to let Chart.js know to register the plugin.

Example object with all lifecycle functions and their attributes to create plugin would be looks like:

import Chart from "chart.js";

// Create the plugin object with lifecycle methods
const customPlugin = {
  beforeInit: chartInstance => {},
  afterInit: chartInstance => {},

  beforeUpdate: chartInstance => {},
  beforeLayout: chartInstance => {},
  afterLayout: chartInstance => {},
  beforeDatasetsUpdate: chartInstance => {},
  beforeDatasetUpdate: (chartInstance, { index, meta }) => {},
  afterDatasetUpdate: (chartInstance, { index, meta }) => {},
  afterDatasetsUpdate: chartInstance => {},
  afterUpdate: chartInstance => {},

  beforeRender: chartInstance => {},
  afterRender: chartInstance => {},

  beforeDraw: (chartInstance, easingValue) => {},
  afterDraw: (chartInstance, easingValue) => {},

  beforeDatasetsDraw: (chartInstance, easingValue) => {},
  beforeDatasetDraw: (chartInstance, { index, meta, easingValue }) => {},
  afterDatasetDraw: (chartInstance, { index, meta, easingValue }) => {},
  afterDatasetsDraw: (chartInstance, easingValue) => {},

  beforeEvent: (chartInstance, { chart, native, type, x, y }) => {},
  afterEvent: (chartInstance, { chart, native, type, x, y }) => {},

  resize: (chartInstance, newChartSize) => {},

  destroy: chartInstance => {}

// Register plugin to enable it in Chart.js

Current plugin will not affect chart as functions has empty body. To make this plugin useful one would need to add code to the functions that modifies the chart.

Example plugin to change background color on chart could be written as follows:

const changeBackgroundPlugin = {
    beforeDraw: chart => {
        const { chartStyles = {} } = chart.config.options;
        if (chartStyles && chartStyles.backgroundColor) {
            const { ctx } = chart.chart;
            const { chartArea : area } = chart;

            ctx.fillStyle = chartStyles.backgroundColor;
            ctx.fillRect(area.left,, area.right - area.left, area.bottom -;

ResourcesClick to expand/shrink

  1. Chart.js Plugins Introduction