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Angular’s ngIf directive does not simply hide and show. It creates and destroys an HTML element based on the result of a JavaScript expression.

It’s perfectly fine to use the Angular ngIf directive to hide / show one or more HTML elements. This is the net effect and when used wisely, there is no problem with this usage. But it is important to be aware that Angular’s ngIf directive actually creates a DOM element or destroys it. If you want to actually hide / show elements without destroying them, then the Angular ngClass attribute would be more appropriate.

The thing to keep in mind when considering whether or not to use the Angular ngIf directive is performance. For example, if you have have hundreds of DOM elements, but do not need to show ALL of them when the component initially renders, then the Angular ngIf directive might be better for performance reasons. As you’ll see, the benefit of this is that only tens or a few hundred DOM elements are created at a time. So this means that as your data changes, the creating / destroying of elements is restricted to fewer elements. But if you have a total of tens or perhaps less than 100 DOM elements to manage in your component, then the Anglular ngClass attribute might be a better choice. You’ll find that performance is improved when using the Anglular ngClass attribute because DOM elements will be hidden-shown via CSS, not JavaScript

Example # 1

In Example # 1, we have our component. There is a contentVisible property. It is a boolean, and set to false by default. We will consume the contentVisible property in our template (see Example # 2).

Example # 2

In Example # 2, we have our template. Notice that the div element has an ngIf attribute. This attribute’s value is the result of the contentVisible property. So if the contentVisible property is true, then the div element is created. Conversely, if the contentVisible property is false, then the div element is destroyed. The net effect is that the element is hidden / shown, but it is important to note that the element is actually created / destroyed.

There are two buttons in the template. Each button has a click event handler. In each case, the button sets the value of the contentVisible property. Each button also has an ngIf attribute. Because they both change the value of the contentVisible property, they change the visibility of both buttons. That is to say, when the first button is clicked, it is immediately destroyed and the other button is created, and vice verse.

The main thing to note in this example is that these buttons change the value of the contentVisible property, which seems to hide / show the div. However, the div is actually being created and destroyed.

Video Example Code

If you want to download the example code, visit this Github page, and then follow the instructions:


So, it’s important to understand that the Angular ngIf directive actually creates and destroys DOM elements. The Angular ngIf directive could be a strong or weak design choice, depending on the context of your component. It’s also a DOM management choice, and whether or not you’re working with hundreds or thousands of DOM elements. So, overall, the approach you take could have a major impact on the performance of your component.