The querySelector() method of the Element interface returns the first element that is a descendant of the element on which it is invoked that matches the specified group of selectors.

Syntax

element = baseElement.querySelector(selectors);

Parameters

selectors
A group of selectors to match the descendant elements of the Element baseElement against; this must be valid CSS syntax, or a SyntaxError exception will occur. The first element found which matches this group of selectors is returned.

Return value

The first descendant element of baseElement which matches the specified group of selectors. The entire hierarchy of elements is considered when matching, including those outside the set of elements including baseElement and its descendants; in other words, selectors is first applied to the whole document, not the baseElement, to generate an initial list of potential elements. The resulting elements are then examined to see if they are descendants of baseElement. The first match of those remaining elements is returned by the querySelector() method.

If no matches are found, the returned value is null.

Exceptions

SyntaxError
The specified selectors are invalid.

Examples

Let's consider a few examples.

Find a specific element with specific values of an attribute

In this first example, the first <style> element which either has no type or has type "text/css" in the HTML document body is returned:

var el = document.body.querySelector("style[type='text/css'], style:not([type])");

The entire hierarchy counts

This example demonstrates that the hierarchy of the entire document is considered when applying selectors, so that levels outside the specified baseElement are still considered when locating matches.

HTML

<div>
  <h5>Original content</h5>
  <p>
    inside paragraph
    <span>inside span</span>
    inside paragraph
  </p>
</div>
<div>
  <h5>Output</h5>
  <div id="output"></div>
</div>

JavaScript

var baseElement = document.querySelector("p");
document.getElementById("output").innerHTML =
  (baseElement.querySelector("div span").innerHTML);

Result

The result looks like this:

Notice how the "div span" selector still successfully matches the <span> element, even though the baseElement's child nodes do not include the div element (it is still part of the specified selector).

More examples

See Document.querySelector() for additional examples of the proper format for the selectors.

Specifications

Specification Status Comment
DOM
The definition of 'querySelector()' in that specification.
Living Standard  
Selectors API Level 2
The definition of 'querySelectorAll()' in that specification.
Obsolete  
Selectors API Level 1
The definition of 'querySelectorAll()' in that specification.
Obsolete  

Browser compatibility

Update compatibility data on GitHub
DesktopMobile
ChromeEdgeFirefoxInternet ExplorerOperaSafariAndroid webviewChrome for AndroidEdge MobileFirefox for AndroidOpera for AndroidSafari on iOSSamsung Internet
Basic supportChrome Full support 1Edge Full support 12Firefox Full support 3.5IE Full support 9
Full support 9
Partial support 8
Notes
Notes querySelector() is supported, but only for CSS 2.1 selectors.
Opera Full support YesSafari Full support 6WebView Android Full support YesChrome Android Full support YesEdge Mobile Full support YesFirefox Android Full support YesOpera Android Full support YesSafari iOS Full support YesSamsung Internet Android Full support Yes

Legend

Full support  
Full support
See implementation notes.
See implementation notes.

See also