The Element interface's animate() method is a shortcut method which creates a new Animation, applies it to the element, then plays the animation. It returns the created Animation object instance.

Note: Elements can have multiple animations applied to them. You can get a list of the animations that affect an element by calling Element.getAnimations().


animate(keyframes, options)



Either an array of keyframe objects, or a keyframe object whose properties are arrays of values to iterate over. See Keyframe Formats for more details.


Either an integer representing the animation's duration (in milliseconds), or an Object containing one or more timing properties described in the KeyframeEffect() options parameter and/or the following options:

id Optional

A property unique to animate(): a DOMString with which to reference the animation.

Return value

Returns an Animation.


In the demo Down the Rabbit Hole (with the Web Animation API), we use the convenient animate() method to immediately create and play an animation on the #tunnel element to make it flow upwards, infinitely. Notice the array of objects passed as keyframes and also the timing options block.

  // keyframes
  { transform: 'translateY(0px)' },
  { transform: 'translateY(-300px)' }
], {
  // timing options
  duration: 1000,
  iterations: Infinity

Implicit to/from keyframes

In newer browser versions, you are able to set a beginning or end state for an animation only (i.e. a single keyframe), and the browser will infer the other end of the animation if it is able to. For example, consider this simple animation — the Keyframe object looks like so:

let rotate360 = [
  { transform: 'rotate(360deg)' }

We have only specified the end state of the animation, and the beginning state is implied.


Web Animations Level 2 (Web Animations 2)
# dom-animatable-animate

Browser compatibility

BCD tables only load in the browser

See also