The CSSStyleSheet.insertRule() method inserts a new CSS rule into the current style sheet, with some restrictions.

Note: Although insertRule() is exclusively a method of CSSStyleSheet, it actually inserts the rule into CSSStyleSheet.cssRules — its internal CSSRuleList.


stylesheet.insertRule(rule [, index])



A DOMString containing the rule to be inserted. What the inserted rule must contain depends on its type:

index Optional
A positive integer less than or equal to stylesheet.cssRules.length, representing the newly inserted rule's position in CSSStyleSheet.cssRules. The default is 0. (In older implementations, this was required. See Browser compatibility for details.)

Return value

The newly inserted rule's index within the stylesheet's rule-list.


CSS has some intuitive and not-so-intuitive restrictions affecting where rules can be inserted. Violating them will likely raise a DOMException.

  • If index > CSSRuleList.length, the method aborts with an IndexSizeError.
  • If rule cannot be inserted at index 0 due to some CSS constraint, the method aborts with a HierarchyRequestError.
  • If more than one rule is given in the rule parameter, the method aborts with a SyntaxError.
  • If trying to insert an @import at-rule after a style rule, the method aborts with a HierarchyRequestError.
  • If rule is @namespace and the rule-list has more than just @import at-rules and/or @namespace at-rules, the method aborts with an InvalidStateError.


Inserting a new rule

This snippet pushes a new rule onto the top of my stylesheet.

myStyle.insertRule('#blanc { color: white }', 0); 

Function to add a stylesheet rule

 * Add a stylesheet rule to the document (it may be better practice
 * to dynamically change classes, so style information can be kept in
 * genuine stylesheets and avoid adding extra elements to the DOM).
 * Note that an array is needed for declarations and rules since ECMAScript does
 * not guarantee a predictable object iteration order, and since CSS is 
 * order-dependent.
 * @param {Array} rules Accepts an array of JSON-encoded declarations
 * @example
  ['h2', // Also accepts a second argument as an array of arrays instead
    ['color', 'red'],
    ['background-color', 'green', true] // 'true' for !important rules 
    ['background-color', 'yellow']
function addStylesheetRules (rules) {
  var styleEl = document.createElement('style');

  // Append <style> element to <head>

  // Grab style element's sheet
  var styleSheet = styleEl.sheet;

  for (var i = 0; i < rules.length; i++) {
    var j = 1, 
        rule = rules[i], 
        selector = rule[0], 
        propStr = '';
    // If the second argument of a rule is an array of arrays, correct our variables.
    if (Array.isArray(rule[1][0])) {
      rule = rule[1];
      j = 0;

    for (var pl = rule.length; j < pl; j++) {
      var prop = rule[j];
      propStr += prop[0] + ': ' + prop[1] + (prop[2] ? ' !important' : '') + ';\n';

    // Insert CSS Rule
    styleSheet.insertRule(selector + '{' + propStr + '}', styleSheet.cssRules.length);


The below polyfill will correct the input of the arguments of insertRule() to standardize them in Internet Explorer 5–8. It supplements insertRule() with a function that separates the selector from the rules before sending the arguments to the default native insertRule().

  var originalInsertRule = Sheet_proto.insertRule;

  if (originalInsertRule.length === 2){ // 2 mandatory arguments: (selector, rules)
    Sheet_proto.insertRule = function(selectorAndRule){
      // First, separate the selector from the rule
      a: for (var i=0, Len=selectorAndRule.length, isEscaped=0, newCharCode=0; i !== Len; ++i) {
        newCharCode = selectorAndRule.charCodeAt(i);
        if (!isEscaped && (newCharCode === 123)) { // 123 = "{".charCodeAt(0)
          // Secondly, find the last closing bracket
          var openBracketPos = i, closeBracketPos = -1;

          for (; i !== Len; ++i) {
            newCharCode = selectorAndRule.charCodeAt(i);
            if (!isEscaped && (newCharCode === 125)) { // 125 = "}".charCodeAt(0)
              closeBracketPos = i;
            isEscaped ^= newCharCode===92?1:isEscaped; // 92 = "\\".charCodeAt(0)

          if (closeBracketPos === -1) break a; // No closing bracket was found!
            /*else*/ return originalInsertRule.call(
            this, // the sheet to be changed
            selectorAndRule.substring(0, openBracketPos), // The selector
            selectorAndRule.substring(closeBracketPos), // The rule
            arguments[3] // The insert index

        // Works by if the char code is a backslash, then isEscaped
        // gets flipped (XOR-ed by 1), and if it is not a backslash
        // then isEscaped gets XORed by itself, zeroing it
        isEscaped ^= newCharCode===92?1:isEscaped; // 92 = "\\".charCodeAt(0)
      // Else, there is no unescaped bracket
      return originalInsertRule.call(this, selectorAndRule, "", arguments[2]);


Specification Status Comment
CSS Object Model (CSSOM)
The definition of 'CSSStyleSheet.insertRule' in that specification.
Working Draft No change from Document Object Model (DOM) Level 2 Style Specification.
Document Object Model (DOM) Level 2 Style Specification
The definition of 'CSSStyleSheet.insertRule' in that specification.
Obsolete Initial definition

Browser compatibility

Update compatibility data on GitHub
ChromeEdgeFirefoxInternet ExplorerOperaSafariAndroid webviewChrome for AndroidFirefox for AndroidOpera for AndroidSafari on iOSSamsung Internet
insertRule()Chrome Full support YesEdge Full support 12Firefox Full support 1IE Full support 9Opera Full support YesSafari Full support YesWebView Android Full support YesChrome Android Full support YesFirefox Android Full support 4Opera Android Full support YesSafari iOS Full support YesSamsung Internet Android Full support Yes
index is optionalChrome Full support 60Edge Full support ≤79Firefox Full support 55IE No support NoOpera Full support 47Safari ? WebView Android Full support 60Chrome Android Full support 60Firefox Android ? Opera Android Full support 44Safari iOS ? Samsung Internet Android Full support 8.0


Full support  
Full support
No support  
No support
Compatibility unknown  
Compatibility unknown

Legacy browser support

To support Internet Explorer 8 and below, use: addRule(selector, rule [, index]);. Example: addRule('pre', 'font: 14px verdana'); // add rule at end

Also note the non-standard removeRule() and .rules instead of deleteRule() and .cssRules, respectively.

See also