The className property of the Element interface gets and sets the value of the class attribute of the specified element.


var cName = elementNodeReference.className;
elementNodeReference.className = cName;
  • cName is a string variable representing the class or space-separated classes of the current element.


let el = document.getElementById('item');

if (el.className === 'active'){
  el.className = 'inactive';
} else {
  el.className = 'active';


The name className is used for this property instead of class because of conflicts with the "class" keyword in many languages which are used to manipulate the DOM.

className can also be an instance of SVGAnimatedString if the element is an SVGElement. It is better to get/set the className of an element using Element.getAttribute and Element.setAttribute if you are dealing with SVG elements. However, take into account that Element.getAttribute returns null instead of "" if the element has an empty class attribute.

elm.setAttribute('class', elm.getAttribute('class'))

The class is an HTML Attribute, while the className is a DOM Property.


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

Browser compatibility

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See also