Using DataTables, how to specify an element inside a <td> to be searched

I'm using jquery DataTables, and I have a table with cells, each <td> contains a <span> and a hidden <select>, now all I want is to filter on just the text inside the <span> not the whole content of the <td> which also contains the hidden <select> element.

I'm using basic DataTables configuration:

$(document).ready( function () {
    $('#table_id').DataTable();
} );

I've been trying for a couple of days now on this site, Datatables site , googling, but couldn't find an answer, so please help Thanks in advance

The code is generated on server, but the resulting table is something like this: Please notice that: <select> element is hidden with css

<tr>
     <td>
        <span>Text</span>
        <select>
        <option>option1</option>
        <option>option2</option>
        ....
        </select>
        </td>
    <td>
        <span>Text</span>
        <select>
        <option>option1</option>
        <option>option2</option>
        ....
        </select>
        </td>   
        </tr>
        ...

Answers:

Answer

You can use the code below to only search <span> inside cells in specific columns. Please note that I've used "targets": [0, 1] to target first and second column only based on your HTML code, adjust according to your needs.

$('#table_id').DataTable({
   "columnDefs": [{
      "targets": [0, 1],
      "render": function ( data, type, full, meta ) {
         if(type === 'filter'){
            return $('#table_id').DataTable().cell(meta.row, meta.col).nodes().to$().find('span').text();
         } else {
            return data;
         }
      }
   }]
});

Alternatively, you can use data-search attribute on <td> element to specify value used for filtering, then no additional initialization code is required. See below for an example:

<tr>
    <td data-search="Text">
        <span>Text</span>
        <select>
        <option>option1</option>
        <option>option2</option>
        ....
        </select>
    </td>
    <td data-search="Text">
        <span>Text</span>
        <select>
        <option>option1</option>
        <option>option2</option>
        ....
        </select>
    </td>   
</tr>

See manual or example for more information on data- attributes.

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