The getAttribute() method of the Element interface returns the value of a specified attribute on the element. If the given attribute does not exist, the value returned will either be null or "" (the empty string); see Non-existing attributes for details.


let attribute = element.getAttribute(attributeName);


  • attribute is a string containing the value of attributeName.
  • attributeName is the name of the attribute whose value you want to get.


const div1 = document.getElementById('div1');
const align = div1.getAttribute('align');

alert(align); // Shows the value of align for the element with id="div1"


Lower casing

When called on an HTML element in a DOM flagged as an HTML document, getAttribute() lower-cases its argument before proceeding.

Non-existing attributes

Essentially all web browsers (Firefox, Internet Explorer, recent versions of Opera, Safari, Konqueror, and iCab, as a non-exhaustive list) return null when the specified attribute does not exist on the specified element; this is what the current DOM specification draft specifies. The old DOM 3 Core specification, on the other hand, says that the correct return value in this case is actually the empty string, and some DOM implementations implement this behavior. The implementation of getAttribute() in XUL (Gecko) actually follows the DOM 3 Core specification and returns an empty string. Consequently, you should use element.hasAttribute() to check for an attribute's existence prior to calling getAttribute() if it is possible that the requested attribute does not exist on the specified element.

Retrieving nonce values

For security reasons, CSP nonces from non-script sources, such as CSS selectors, and  .getAttribute("nonce") calls are hidden.

let nonce =  script.getAttribute('nonce');
// returns empty string

Instead of retrieving the nonce from the content attribute, use the nonce property:

let nonce =  script.nonce;


Specification Status Comment
The definition of 'getAttribute()' in that specification.
Living Standard

Browser compatibility

Update compatibility data on GitHub
ChromeEdgeFirefoxInternet ExplorerOperaSafariAndroid webviewChrome for AndroidFirefox for AndroidOpera for AndroidSafari on iOSSamsung Internet
getAttributeChrome Full support 1Edge Full support 12Firefox Full support 23IE Full support 8Opera Full support 8Safari Full support 1.3WebView Android Full support 1Chrome Android Full support 18Firefox Android Full support 23Opera Android Full support 10.1Safari iOS Full support 1Samsung Internet Android Full support 1.0


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