I recently wrote jQuery plug-in, that allows AJAX file uploads without using a fixed file input button. It achieves its goals by installing an OnMouseMove handler over the selected elements, and moving the input button under the mouse cursor.

The quote that inspired this code is: “If Muhammad won’t go to the mountain, the mountain will come to Muhammad”, the opposite of the more known proverb :).

EDIT 2023: CAUTION: these links are expired :-( It has been spinned off from the Visita CSA application JavaScript codebase, see the gist for more information, and have a look onto the live app code for an example of its usage.

Here is the source code:

//  ~ JavaScript Kung-FU, with an excess chunky bacon dose! ~
// This plugin allows seamless ajax file uploads without having
// a fixed file input button. It achieves this by installing an
// OnMouseMove handler over the interested elements, and moving
// the input button under the cursor. <<If Muhammad won't go to
// the the mountain, the mountain will come to Muhammad.>> :-).
// This approach is needed on the majority of browser, except
// Safari, on which the coder is allowed to trigger a "click" 
// event onto an input type=file element. On other browsers,
// you can not, that's why the complicated mousemove approach
// was chosen.
// Either way, when the value of the input type=file changes,
// handlers are disabled, and a user-provided callback is then
// called (passed via the "upload" option). Handlers are then
// re-enabled again when the upload succeeds or fails.
// IE has additional problems, because, quite unexplicably,
// when submitting a form that causes a page load, the change
// event on the file input is triggered AGAIN, thus triggering
// a new file upload. To circumvent this, you can pass a "linked" 
// option, that contains the jQuery selector of the form, and
// whenever an input under this form is hovered, ajax upload
// handlers are temporarily cleared and thus the spurious form
// submission.
// The jquery Form plugin is a perfect companion of this one,
// because of its .ajaxSubmit method. Have a look at its home
// page: http://malsup.com/jquery/form/.
// Have fun!
// - vjt@openssl.it
$.fn.ajaxFormUpload = function(options) {
  var positioning = { top: 0, left: 0,
    position: 'absolute', cursor: 'pointer', 'z-index': 2 };

  var form = $(options.form || '#ajax_upload');

  var input = form.find('input[type=file]');
  input.css($.extend(positioning, { width: '10px', opacity: 0, 'font-size':'0px' }));

  var hovering_element = null;

  var elements = $(this);

  var handler, event_;
  if ($.browser.safari) {
    event_ = 'click', handler = function() {
      hovering_element = $(this);
  } else {
    event_ = 'mousemove', handler = function(event) {
      hovering_element = $(this);
      form.css({ left: event.pageX - 10, top: event.pageY - 5 });

  function enable()  { $(elements).bind(event_, handler);   }
  function disable() { $(elements).unbind(event_, handler); }

  input.change(function() {
    var element = hovering_element;
    if (!element) return;

    options.upload(element, form);



  if (options.linked) {
    $(document).ready(function() {
      $(options.linked).find('input').mouseover(function() { hovering_element = null; });

You can check it out on github.