The HTML DOM Document Object


In the HTML DOM (Document Object Model), everything is a node:

  • The document itself is a document node
  • All HTML elements are element nodes
  • All HTML attributes are attribute nodes
  • Text inside HTML elements are text nodes
  • Comments are comment nodes

The Document Object

When an HTML document is loaded into a web browser, it becomes a document object.

The document object is the root node of the HTML document and the "owner" of all other nodes:
(element nodes, text nodes, attribute nodes, and comment nodes).

The document object provides properties and methods to access all node objects, from within JavaScript.

Tip: The document is a part of the Window object and can be accessed as window.document.

Browser Support

Document Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

The Document Object is supported in all major browsers.

Document Object Properties and Methods

The following properties and methods can be used on HTML documents:

Property / Method Description
document.activeElement Returns the currently focused element in the document
document.addEventListener() Attaches an event handler to the document
document.adoptNode() Adopts a node from another document
document.anchors Returns a collection of all <a> elements in the document that have a name attribute
document.applets Returns a collection of all <applet> elements in the document
document.baseURI Returns the absolute base URI of a document
document.body Sets or returns the document's body (the <body> element)
document.close() Closes the output stream previously opened with document.open()
document.cookie Returns all name/value pairs of cookies in the document
document.createAttribute() Creates an attribute node
document.createComment() Creates a Comment node with the specified text
document.createDocumentFragment() Creates an empty DocumentFragment node
document.createElement() Creates an Element node
document.createTextNode() Creates a Text node
document.doctype Returns the Document Type Declaration associated with the document
document.documentElement Returns the Document Element of the document (the <html> element)
document.documentMode Returns the mode used by the browser to render the document
< document.documentURI Sets or returns the location of the document
document.domain Returns the domain name of the server that loaded the document
document.domConfig Obsolete. Returns the DOM configuration of the document
document.embeds Returns a collection of all <embed> elements the document
document.forms Returns a collection of all <form> elements in the document
document.getElementById() Returns the element that has the ID attribute with the specified value
document.getElementsByClassName() Returns a NodeList containing all elements with the specified class name
document.getElementsByName() Returns a NodeList containing all elements with a specified name
document.getElementsByTagName() Returns a NodeList containing all elements with the specified tag name
document.hasFocus() Returns a Boolean value indicating whether the document has focus
document.head Returns the <head> element of the document
document.images Returns a collection of all <img> elements in the document
document.implementation Returns the DOMImplementation object that handles this document
document.importNode() Imports a node from another document
document.inputEncoding Returns the encoding, character set, used for the document
document.lastModified Returns the date and time the document was last modified
document.links Returns a collection of all <a> and <area> elements in the document that have a href attribute
document.normalize() Removes empty Text nodes, and joins adjacent nodes
document.normalizeDocument() Removes empty Text nodes, and joins adjacent nodes
document.open() Opens an HTML output stream to collect output from document.write()
document.querySelector() Returns the first element that matches a specified CSS selector(s) in the document
document.querySelectorAll() Returns a static NodeList containing all elements that matches a specified CSS selector(s) in the document
document.readyState Returns the (loading) status of the document
< document.referrer Returns the URL of the document that loaded the current document
document.removeEventListener() Removes an event handler from the document (that has been attached with the addEventListener() method)
document.renameNode() Renames the specified node
document.scripts Returns a collection of <script> elements in the document
document.strictErrorChecking Sets or returns whether error-checking is enforced or not
document.title Sets or returns the title of the document
document.URL Returns the full URL of the HTML document
document.write() Writes HTML expressions or JavaScript code to a document
document.writeln() Same as write(), but adds a newline character after each statement

Warning !!!

In the W3C DOM Core, the Document object inherits all properties and methods from the Node object.

Many of these properties and methods make no sense used on documents.

Avoid using these node object properties and methods on HTML document objects:

 Property / Method Reason for avoiding
document.attributes Documents don't have attributes
document.hasAttributes() Documents don't have attributes
document.nextSibling Documents don't have siblings
document.nodeName This is always #document
document.nodeType This is always 9 (DOCUMENT_NODE)
document.nodeValue Documents don't have an node value
document.ownerDocument Documents don't have an owner document
document.ownerElement Documents don't have an owner element
document.parentNode Documents don't have a parent node
document.previousSibling Documents don't have siblings
document.textContent Documents don't have a text content