Select DOM elements by CSS selector

querySelectorAll - a CSS selector method like the one provided by jQuery.

querySelectorAll() returns a list of DOM elements that match a given CSS selector. If you have ever used jQuery to select an element, you know how to make use of this method:

var matches = document.querySelectorAll('');

for (i=0; i<matches.length; i++)

In the example, a NodeList of all <div> tags that have the class "foo" assigned is fetched. If no element matches the given selector, n empty NodeList is returned. The method works with basically any CSS selector, very similar to jQuery's $(...) method. Cross browser support is great; IE 8 is limited to CSS 2.1 selectors and it has issues with some unrecognized HTML5 tags. Other examples:

// select all div tags + link tags with the class "info"
var matches = document.querySelectorAll("div,");

// select all text input fields
var matches = document.querySelectorAll("input[type='text']");

As you can see, it's exactly what jQuery's selector engine does for you - only faster and no extra library required. Keep in mind, though, in contrast to jQuery, querySelector() returns a node list.

In addition, there's an even faster method available for fetching only the first matching element:

var match = document.querySelector('');

// equals for the matched element
var match = document.querySelectorAll('')[0];


Shortcut functions for less typing

querySelectorAll() and querySelector() are great, just not to type. So, simply create your own helper functions:

// select a list of matching elements, context is optional
function $(selector, context) {
return (context || document).querySelectorAll(selector);

// select the first match only, context is optional
function $1(selector, context) {
return (context || document).querySelector(selector);

// how to use

// select all '.bar' elements inside all '.foo' containers
var matches = $('.foo .bar');

// context example
var container = $1('.foo');
// select '.bar' elements inside this one container
var matches = $('.bar', container);

By doing so, you can use $(...) to fetch elements just like you would with jQuery; you can even pass in a context element. The jQuery documentation provides a complete list of available selectors. Warning: jQuery's Extensions selectors are not part of the CSS specification and consequently do not work with querySelectorAll().