$on and $broadcast in angular

The question:

I have a footerController and codeScannerController with different views.

angular.module('myApp').controller('footerController', ["$scope", function($scope) {}]);

angular.module('myApp').controller('codeScannerController', ["$scope", function($scope) {
$scope.startScanner = function(){...

When I click on a <li> in footer.html I should get this event in codeScannerController.

<li class="button" ng-click="startScanner()">3</li>

I think it can be realised with $on and $broadcast, but I don’t know how and can’t find examples anywhere.

The Solutions:

Below are the methods you can try. The first solution is probably the best. Try others if the first one doesn’t work. Senior developers aren’t just copying/pasting – they read the methods carefully & apply them wisely to each case.

Method 1

If you want to $broadcast use the $rootScope:

$scope.startScanner = function() {


And then to receive, use the $scope of your controller:

$scope.$on('scanner-started', function(event, args) {

    // do what you want to do

If you want you can pass arguments when you $broadcast:

$rootScope.$broadcast('scanner-started', { any: {} });

And then receive them:

$scope.$on('scanner-started', function(event, args) {

    var anyThing = args.any;
    // do what you want to do

Documentation for this inside the Scope docs.

Method 2

First, a short description of $on(), $broadcast() and $emit():

  • .$on(name, listener) – Listens for a specific event by a given name
  • .$broadcast(name, args) – Broadcast an event down through the $scope of all children
  • .$emit(name, args) – Emit an event up the $scope hierarchy to all parents, including the $rootScope

Based on the following HTML (see full example here):

<div ng-controller="Controller1">
    <button ng-click="broadcast()">Broadcast 1</button>
    <button ng-click="emit()">Emit 1</button>

<div ng-controller="Controller2">
    <button ng-click="broadcast()">Broadcast 2</button>
    <button ng-click="emit()">Emit 2</button>
    <div ng-controller="Controller3">
        <button ng-click="broadcast()">Broadcast 3</button>
        <button ng-click="emit()">Emit 3</button>
        <button ng-click="broadcastRoot()">Broadcast Root</button>
        <button ng-click="emitRoot()">Emit Root</button>

The fired events will traverse the $scopes as follows:

  • Broadcast 1 – Will only be seen by Controller 1 $scope
  • Emit 1 – Will be seen by Controller 1 $scope then $rootScope
  • Broadcast 2 – Will be seen by Controller 2 $scope then Controller 3 $scope
  • Emit 2 – Will be seen by Controller 2 $scope then $rootScope
  • Broadcast 3 – Will only be seen by Controller 3 $scope
  • Emit 3 – Will be seen by Controller 3 $scope, Controller 2 $scope then $rootScope
  • Broadcast Root – Will be seen by $rootScope and $scope of all the Controllers (1, 2 then 3)
  • Emit Root – Will only be seen by $rootScope

JavaScript to trigger events (again, you can see a working example here):

app.controller('Controller1', ['$scope', '$rootScope', function($scope, $rootScope){
    $scope.broadcastAndEmit = function(){
        // This will be seen by Controller 1 $scope and all children $scopes 
        $scope.$broadcast('eventX', {data: '$scope.broadcast'});

        // Because this event is fired as an emit (goes up) on the $rootScope,
        // only the $rootScope will see it
        $rootScope.$emit('eventX', {data: '$rootScope.emit'});
    $scope.emit = function(){
        // Controller 1 $scope, and all parent $scopes (including $rootScope) 
        // will see this event
        $scope.$emit('eventX', {data: '$scope.emit'});

    $scope.$on('eventX', function(ev, args){
        console.log('eventX found on Controller1 $scope');
    $rootScope.$on('eventX', function(ev, args){
        console.log('eventX found on $rootScope');

Method 3

One thing you should know is $ prefix refers to an Angular Method, $$ prefixes refers to angular methods that you should avoid using.

below is an example template and its controllers, we’ll explore how $broadcast/$on can help us achieve what we want.

<div ng-controller="FirstCtrl">
    <input ng-model="name"/> 
    <button ng-click="register()">Register </button>

<div ng-controller="SecondCtrl">
    Registered Name: <input ng-model="name"/> 

The controllers are

app.controller('FirstCtrl', function($scope){
    $scope.register = function(){


app.controller('SecondCtrl', function($scope){


My question to you is how do you pass the name to the second controller when a user clicks register? You may come up with multiple solutions but the one we’re going to use is using $broadcast and $on.

$broadcast vs $emit

Which should we use? $broadcast will channel down to all the children dom elements and $emit will channel the opposite direction to all the ancestor dom elements.

The best way to avoid deciding between $emit or $broadcast is to channel from the $rootScope and use $broadcast to all its children. Which makes our case much easier since our dom elements are siblings.

Adding $rootScope and lets $broadcast

app.controller('FirstCtrl', function($rootScope, $scope){
    $scope.register = function(){
        $rootScope.$broadcast('BOOM!', $scope.name)

Note we added $rootScope and now we’re using $broadcast(broadcastName, arguments). For broadcastName, we want to give it a unique name so we can catch that name in our secondCtrl. I’ve chosen BOOM! just for fun. The second arguments ‘arguments’ allows us to pass values to the listeners.

Receiving our broadcast

In our second controller, we need to set up code to listen to our broadcast

app.controller('SecondCtrl', function($scope){
  $scope.$on('BOOM!', function(events, args){
    $scope.name = args; //now we've registered!

It’s really that simple. Live Example

Other ways to achieve similar results

Try to avoid using this suite of methods as it is neither efficient nor easy to maintain but it’s a simple way to fix issues you might have.

You can usually do the same thing by using a service or by simplifying your controllers. We won’t discuss this in detail but I thought I’d just mention it for completeness.

Lastly, keep in mind a really useful broadcast to listen to is ‘$destroy’ again you can see the $ means it’s a method or object created by the vendor codes. Anyways $destroy is broadcasted when a controller gets destroyed, you may want to listen to this to know when your controller is removed.

Method 4

//Your broadcast in service

(function () { 
    angular.module('appModule').factory('AppService', function ($rootScope, $timeout) {

    function refreshData() {  
        $timeout(function() {         
        }, 0, true);      

    return {           
        RefreshData: refreshData
}); }());

//Controller Implementation
 (function () {
    angular.module('appModule').controller('AppController', function ($rootScope, $scope, $timeout, AppService) {            

       //Removes Listeners before adding them 
       //This line will solve the problem for multiple broadcast call                             
       $scope.$$listeners['refreshData'] = [];

       $scope.$on('refreshData', function() {                                                    

       $scope.onSaveDataComplete = function() { 
    }); }());

All methods was sourced from stackoverflow.com or stackexchange.com, is licensed under cc by-sa 2.5, cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0

Leave a Comment