The Element.getElementsByTagNameNS() method returns a live HTMLCollection of elements with the given tag name belonging to the given namespace. It is similar to Document.getElementsByTagNameNS, except that its search is restricted to descendants of the specified element.


elements = element.getElementsByTagNameNS(namespaceURI, localName)
  • elements is a live HTMLCollection of found elements in the order they appear in the tree.
  • element is the element from where the search should start. Note that only the descendants of this element are included in the search, not the node itself.
  • namespaceURI is the namespace URI of elements to look for (see Node.namespaceURI). For example, if you need to look for XHTML elements, use the XHTML namespace URI,
  • localName is either the local name of elements to look for or the special value "*", which matches all elements (see Node.localName).


// check the alignment on a number of cells in a table in an XHTML document.
var table = document.getElementById("forecast-table");
var cells = table.getElementsByTagNameNS("", "td");

for (var i = 0; i < cells.length; i++) {
    var axis = cells[i].getAttribute("axis");
    if (axis == "year") {
        // grab the data


Specification Status Comment
The definition of 'Element.getElementsByTagNameNS()' in that specification.
Living Standard Changed the return value from NodeList to HTMLCollection.
Document Object Model (DOM) Level 3 Core Specification
The definition of 'Element.getElementsByTagNameNS()' in that specification.
Obsolete No change from Document Object Model (DOM) Level 2 Core Specification.
Document Object Model (DOM) Level 2 Core Specification
The definition of 'Element.getElementsByTagNameNS()' in that specification.
Obsolete Initial definition

Browser compatibility

FeatureChromeEdgeFirefoxInternet ExplorerOperaSafari
Basic support11 Yes Yes2 35.5 Yes1 Yes1
getElementsByTagName(*)1 Yes Yes6 Yes Yes
FeatureAndroid webviewChrome for AndroidEdge mobileFirefox for AndroidOpera AndroidiOS SafariSamsung Internet
Basic support Yes ? Yes Yes2 3 Yes Yes ?
getElementsByTagName(*) ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

1. Initially, this method was returning a NodeList; it was then changed to reflect the spec change.

2. The behavior of element.getElementsByTagNameNS changed between Firefox 3.5 and Firefox 3.6. In Firefox 3.5 and before, this function would automatically case-fold any queries so that a search for "foo" would match "Foo" or "foo". In Firefox 3.6 and later this function is now case-sensitive so that a query for "foo" will only match "foo" and not "Foo". For more background on this, please see the comment from Henri Sivonen about the change. You can also look at the relevant part of the standard, which states which parts of the API are case-sensitive and which parts aren't.

3. Prior to Firefox 19, this method was returning a NodeList; it was then changed to reflects the spec change.

Document Tags and Contributors

Last updated by: fscholz,