This is an experimental technology
Because this technology's specification has not stabilized, check the compatibility table for usage in various browsers. Also note that the syntax and behavior of an experimental technology is subject to change in future versions of browsers as the specification changes.

The Element.animate() method is a shortcut method for creating and playing an animation on an element. It returns the created Animation object instance.


element.animate(keyframes, options); 



An Object formatted to represent a set of keyframes.

Either an integer representing the animation's duration (in milliseconds), or an Object containing one or more timing properties: 
id Optional
A property unique to animate(): a DOMString with which to reference the animation.
AnimationEffectTimingProperties.delay Optional
The number of milliseconds to delay the start of the animation. Defaults to 0.
AnimationEffectTimingProperties.direction Optional
Whether the animation runs forwards (normal), backwards (reverse), switches direction after each iteration (alternate), or runs backwards and switches direction after each iteration (alternate-reverse). Defaults to normal.
AnimationEffectTimingProperties.duration Optional
The number of milliseconds each iteration of the animation takes to complete. Defaults to 0.
AnimationEffectTimingProperties.easing Optional
The rate of the animation's change over time. Accepts the pre-defined values linearease, ease-in, ease-out, and ease-in-out, or a custom cubic-bezier value like cubic-bezier(0.42, 0, 0.58, 1). Defaults to linear.
AnimationEffectTimingProperties.endDelay Optional
The number of milliseconds to delay after the end of an animation. This is primarily of use when sequencing animations based on the end time of another animation. Defaults to 0
AnimationEffectTimingProperties.fill Optional
Dictates whether the animation's effects should be reflected by the element(s) prior to playing (backwards), retained after the animation has completed playing (forwards), or both. Defaults to none.
AnimationEffectTimingProperties.iterationStart Optional
Describes at what point in the iteration the animation should start. 0.5 would indicate starting halfway through the first iteration for example, and with this value set, an animation with 2 iterations would end halfway through a third iteration. Defaults to 0.0.
AnimationEffectTimingProperties.iterations Optional
The number of times the animation should repeat. Defaults to 1, and can also take a value of infinity to make it repeat infinitely.

Future Options

The following options are currently not shipped anywhere, but will be added in the near future.

composite Optional
Determines how values are combined between this animation and other, separate animations that do not specify their own specific composite operation. Defaults to replace.
  • add dictates an additive effect, where each successive iteration builds on the last. For instance with transform, a translateX(-200px) would not override an earlier rotate(20deg) value but result in translateX(-200px) rotate(20deg).
  • accumulate is similar but a little smarter: blur(2) and blur(5) become blur(7), not blur(2) blur(5).
  • replace overwrites the previous value with the new one. 
iterationComposite Optional
Determines how values build from iteration to iteration in this animation. Can be set to accumulate or replace (see above). Defaults to replace.
spacing Optional
Determines how keyframes without temporal offsets should be distributed during the animation's duration. Defaults to distribute.
  • distribute positions keyframes so that the difference between subsequent keyframe offsets are equal, that is to say, without any offsets, it will equally distribute the keyframes across play time.
  • paced positions keyframes so that the distance between subsequent values of a specified paced property are equal, that is to say, keyframes are spaced further apart the greater the difference in their property values.


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


Specification Status Comment
Web Animations
The definition of 'animate()' in that specification.
Working Draft Initial definition

Browser compatibility

Feature Chrome Edge Firefox (Gecko) Internet Explorer Opera Safari (WebKit)
Basic support 36 ? 48.0 (48.0) ? 23 ?
id option 50.0 ? 48.0 (48.0) ? 37 ?
composite, iterationComposite, and spacing options No support No support No support No support No support No support
Feature Android Android Webview Chrome for Android Firefox Mobile (Gecko) Firefox OS IE Mobile Opera Mobile Safari Mobile
Basic support ? 39.0 39.0 48.0 (48.0) ? ? ? ?
id option No support 50.0 50.0 48.0 (48.0) ? ? ? ?
composite, iterationComposite, and spacing options No support No support No support No support No support No support No support No support

See also

Document Tags and Contributors

 Last updated by: dancwilson,