Ionic 3 Page Overlay

I’ve been doing a project recently in ionic 3 (WatchEm) and I must say I’m pretty impressed. I never tried using ionic 1 as it looked like quite a lot of overhead and it wasn’t certain whether it was going to turn into a popular platform, but ionic 3 seems good, stable and is developing well.

One thing we wanted to do was to provide a help screen the first time you access each page in the app as for example some google apps do. The aim was to present an overlay which provides some textual and visual pointers as to what you can do on the page, and some hints about it.

Fortunately it wasn’t hard to do; here is the code I wrote which lets you produce flexible help pages of the format:


    <h2>Player Buttons and Features</h2>

        <ion-icon name="ios-skip-backward"></ion-icon>
        <ion-icon name="ios-skip-forward"></ion-icon>, or using your left/right keys you can move to the next key event in the game.


We’re going to produce this as a component, so create components/overlay/overlay.ts like:

import { Input, Component, ElementRef, Renderer2, AfterViewInit } from '@angular/core';
import { Storage } from '@ionic/storage';
import { NavController } from 'ionic-angular';
  selector: 'overlay',
  templateUrl: 'overlay.html'
export class OverlayComponent implements AfterViewInit {
    private _force :boolean = false;
    set force(val) {
        this._force = val == '' ? true : !!val;
    constructor( private elementRef : ElementRef, private renderer : Renderer2, private _storage: Storage, public navCtrl: NavController ) {

    get storage_key() {
        return `shown-overlay-${this.navCtrl.getActive().id}`;

    ngAfterViewInit() {
        // Check local storage to see if we already displayed this...
        this._storage.get(this.storage_key).then( (val) => {
            if( !val || this._force )
                this.renderer.addClass( this.elementRef.nativeElement, 'shown' )

    hide_overlay() {
        this._storage.set(this.storage_key, 1);
        this.renderer.removeClass( this.elementRef.nativeElement, 'shown' );

Pretty straight forwards – if the force= attribute is set on the <overlay> tag then it will always show it (useful for debugging). Otherwise if it is the first time the page has been opened it will show and then store in localStorage to say it shouldn’t be shown again.

Next, the HTML for the component in components/overlay/overlay.html:

<ion-grid full-height (click)="$event.stopPropagation(); hide_overlay()" ion-text color=white text-center>
    <ion-row full-height align-items-center>
        <ion-col col-md-8 push-md-2>
            <button ion-button>Got it</button>

Obviously feel free to do what you want here with text/layout. We call stopPropagation() in order to prevent any stuff on the main page from receiving the click, especially if you have click-handlers further up the chain eg on the body element.

Finally a bit of styling in components/overlay/overlay.scss to make it look like an overlay and handle visibility changes correctly:

overlay {
    display: none;
    &.shown {
        position: fixed;
        display: block;
        padding: 40px 20px;
        top: 0;
        left: 0;
        bottom: 0;
        right: 0;
        background: rgba( 0, 0, 0, 0.7 );
        z-index: 9999;
        overflow-y: auto;
        overflow-x: hidden;

Note that the overlay must be placed outside of any <ion-content tags as they provide for automatic scrolling of their content etc which is not wanted as the overlay itself needs to scroll.

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