The outerHTML attribute of the Element DOM interface gets the serialized HTML fragment describing the element including its descendants. It can also be set to replace the element with nodes parsed from the given string.

To only obtain the HTML representation of the contents of an element, or to replace the contents of an element, use the property innerHTML instead.


var content = element.outerHTML;

element.outerHTML = htmlString;


Reading the value of outerHTML returns a DOMString containing an HTML serialization of the element and its descendants. Setting the value of outerHTML replaces the element and all of its descendants with a new DOM tree constructed by parsing the specified htmlString.


An attempt was made to set outerHTML using an HTML string which is not valid.
An attempt was made to set outerHTML on an element which is a direct child of a Document, such as Document.documentElement.


Getting the value of an element's outerHTML property:

// HTML:
// <div id="d"><p>Content</p><p>Further Elaborated</p></div>

d = document.getElementById("d");

// the string '<div id="d"><p>Content</p><p>Further Elaborated</p></div>'
// is dumped to the console window

Replacing a node by setting the outerHTML property:

// HTML:
// <div id="container"><div id="d">This is a div.</div></div>

container = document.getElementById("container");
d = document.getElementById("d");
console.log(container.firstChild.nodeName); // logs "DIV"

d.outerHTML = "<p>This paragraph replaced the original div.</p>";
console.log(container.firstChild.nodeName); // logs "P"

// The #d div is no longer part of the document tree,
// the new paragraph replaced it.


If the element has no parent element, setting its outerHTML property will not change it or its descendants. Many browsers will also throw an exception. For example:

var div = document.createElement("div");
div.outerHTML = "<div class=\"test\">test</div>";
console.log(div.outerHTML); // output: "<div></div>"

Also, while the element will be replaced in the document, the variable whose outerHTML property was set will still hold a reference to the original element:

var p = document.getElementsByTagName("p")[0];
console.log(p.nodeName); // shows: "P"
p.outerHTML = "<div>This div replaced a paragraph.</div>";
console.log(p.nodeName); // still "P";


Specification Status Comment
DOM Parsing and Serialization
The definition of 'Element.outerHTML' in that specification.
Working Draft  

Browser compatibility

We're converting our compatibility data into a machine-readable JSON format. This compatibility table still uses the old format, because we haven't yet converted the data it contains. Find out how you can help!

Feature Firefox (Gecko) Chrome Internet Explorer Opera Safari
Basic support 11 (11) 0.2 4.0 7 1.3
Feature Android Firefox Mobile (Gecko) IE Mobile Opera Mobile Safari Mobile
Basic support (Yes) 11.0 (11) (Yes) (Yes) (Yes)

See also