HTMLElement: dir property

The HTMLElement.dir property gets or sets the text writing directionality of the content of the current element.

The text writing directionality of an element is which direction that text goes (for support of different language systems). Arabic languages and Hebrew are typical languages using the RTL directionality.

An image can have its dir property set to "rtl" in which case the HTML attributes title and alt will be formatted and defined as "rtl".

When a table has its dir set to "rtl", the column order is arranged from right to left.

When an element has its dir set to "auto", the direction of the element is determined based on its first strong directionality character, or default to the directionality of its parent element.

Note: Browsers might allow users to change the directionality of <input> and <textarea>s in order to assist with authoring content. Chrome and Safari provide a directionality option in the contextual menu of input fields while pre-Chromium Edge uses the key combinations Ctrl + Left Shift and Ctrl + Right Shift. Firefox uses Ctrl/Cmd + Shift + X but does NOT update the dir attribute value.


One of the following:

  • ltr, for left-to-right;
  • rtl, for right-to-left;
  • auto for specifying that the direction of the element must be determined based on the contents of the element.


const parg = document.getElementById("para1");
parg.dir = "rtl";
// change the text direction on a paragraph identified as "para1"


HTML Standard
# dom-dir

Browser compatibility

BCD tables only load in the browser

See also