The getElementsByName() method of the document object returns a NodeList Collection of elements with a given name in the document.


elements = document.getElementsByName(name) 
  • elements is a live NodeList Collection, meaning it automatically updates as new elements with the same name are added to/removed from the document.
  • name is the value of the name attribute of the element(s).


<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
<title>Example: using document.getElementsByName</title>

<form name="up"></form>
<div name="down"></div>

  var up_names = document.getElementsByName("up");
  console.log(up_names[0].tagName); // displays "FORM"


The name attribute can only be applied in (X)HTML documents.

The returned NodeList Collection contains all elements with the given name, such as <meta>, <object>, and even elements which do not support the name attribute at all.

The getElementsByName method works differently in IE10 and below. There, getElementsByName() also returns elements that have an id attribute with the specified value. Be careful not to use the same string as both a name and an id.

Both IE and Edge return an HTMLCollection, not a NodeList


Specification Status Comment
HTML Living Standard
The definition of 'Document.getElementsByName()' in that specification.
Living Standard  
Document Object Model (DOM) Level 2 HTML Specification
The definition of 'Document.getElementsByName()' in that specification.
Obsolete Initial definition

Browser compatibility

FeatureChromeEdgeFirefoxInternet ExplorerOperaSafari
Basic support Yes Yes1 Yes Yes1 Yes Yes
FeatureAndroid webviewChrome for AndroidEdge mobileFirefox for AndroidOpera AndroidiOS SafariSamsung Internet
Basic support Yes Yes Yes1 Yes Yes Yes ?

1. Returns an HTMLCollection, not a NodeList

See also