The Document method querySelector() returns the first Element within the document that matches the specified selector, or group of selectors. If no matches are found, null is returned.

Note: The matching is done using depth-first pre-order traversal of the document's nodes starting with the first element in the document's markup and iterating through sequential nodes by order of the number of child nodes.


element = document.querySelector(selectors);


A DOMString containing one or more selectors to match. This string must be a valid CSS selector string; if it isn't, a SYNTAX_ERR exception is thrown. See Locating DOM elements using selectors for more about selectors and how to manage them.

Note: Characters which are not part of standard CSS syntax must be escaped using a backslash character. Since JavaScript also uses backspace escaping, special care must be taken when writing string literals using these characters. See Escaping special characters for more information.

Return value

A Element object representing the first element in the document that matches the specified set of CSS selectors.

If you need a list of all elements matching the specified selectors, you should use querySelectorAll() instead.


The syntax of the specified selectors are invalid.

Usage notes

If the specified selector matches an ID which is incorrectly used more than once in the document, the first element with that ID is returned.

CSS pseudo-elements will never return any elements, as specified in the Selectors API.

Escaping special characters

To match against an ID or selectors that do not follow standard CSS syntax (by using a colon or space inappropriately for example), you must escape the character with a backslash ("\"). As the backslash is also an escape character in JavaScript, if you are entering a literal string, you must escape it twice (once for the JavaScript string, and another time for querySelector()):

<div id="foo\bar"></div>
<div id="foo:bar"></div>

  console.log('#foo\bar');               // "#fooar" (\b is the backspace control character)
  document.querySelector('#foo\bar');    // Does not match anything

  console.log('#foo\\bar');              // "#foo\bar"
  console.log('#foo\\\\bar');            // "#foo\\bar"
  document.querySelector('#foo\\\\bar'); // Match the first div

  document.querySelector('#foo:bar');    // Does not match anything
  document.querySelector('#foo\\:bar');  // Match the second div


Finding the first element matching a class

In this example, the first element in the document with the class "myclass" is returned:

var el = document.querySelector(".myclass");

A more complex selector

Selectors can also be really powerful as demonstrated in the following example. Here, the first <input> element with the name "login" (<input name="login"/>) located inside a <div> whose class is "user-panel main" (<div class="user-panel main">) in the document is returned:

var el = document.querySelector("div.user-panel.main input[name='login']");


Specification Status Comment
Selectors API Level 2
The definition of 'document.querySelector()' in that specification.
Selectors API Level 1
The definition of 'document.querySelector()' in that specification.
Obsolete Initial definition

Browser compatibility

We're converting our compatibility data into a machine-readable JSON format. This compatibility table still uses the old format, because we haven't yet converted the data it contains. Find out how you can help!

Feature Chrome Edge Firefox (Gecko) Internet Explorer Opera Safari (WebKit)
Basic support 1 (Yes) 3.5 8 10 3.2
Feature Android Edge Firefox Mobile (Gecko) IE Mobile Opera Mobile Safari Mobile
Basic support 2.1 (Yes) (Yes) 9 10.0 3.2

See also