NodeList objects are collections of nodes, usually returned by properties such as Node.childNodes and methods such as document.querySelectorAll().

Although NodeList is not an Array, it is possible to iterate over it with forEach(). It can also be converted to a real Array using Array.from().

However, some older browsers have not implemented NodeList.forEach() nor Array.from(). This can be circumvented by using Array.prototype.forEach() — see this document's Example.

In some cases, the NodeList is live, which means that changes in the DOM automatically update the collection. For example, Node.childNodes is live:

var parent = document.getElementById('parent');
var child_nodes = parent.childNodes;
console.log(child_nodes.length); // let's assume "2"
parent.appendChild(document.createElement('div'));
console.log(child_nodes.length); // outputs "3"

In other cases, the NodeList is static, where any changes in the DOM does not affect the content of the collection. document.querySelectorAll() returns a static NodeList.

It's good to keep this distinction in mind when you choose how to iterate over the items in the NodeList, and if you should cache the list's length.

Properties

NodeList.length
The number of nodes in the NodeList.

Methods

NodeList.item()
Returns an item in the list by its index, or null if the index is out-of-bounds.
An alternative to accessing nodeList[i] (which instead returns  undefined when i is out-of-bounds). This is mostly useful for non-JavaScript languages DOM implementations.
NodeList.entries()
Returns an iterator, allowing code to go through all key/value pairs contained in the collection. (In this case, the keys are numbers starting from 0 and the values are nodes.)
NodeList.forEach()
Executes a provided function once per NodeList element, passing the element as an argument to the function.
NodeList.keys()
Returns an iterator, allowing code to go through all the keys of the key/value pairs contained in the collection. (In this case, the keys are numbers starting from 0.)
NodeList.values()
Returns an iterator allowing code to go through all values (nodes) of the key/value pairs contained in the collection.

Example

It's possible to loop over the items in a NodeList using a for loop:

for (var i = 0; i < myNodeList.length; i++) {
  var item = myNodeList[i];
}

Don't use for...in or for each...in to enumerate the items in NodeLists, since they will also enumerate its length and item properties and cause errors if your script assumes it only has to deal with element objects. Also, for..in is not guaranteed to visit the properties in any particular order.

for...of loops will loop over NodeList objects correctly:

var list = document.querySelectorAll('input[type=checkbox]');
for (var checkbox of list) {
  checkbox.checked = true;
}

Recent browsers also support iterator methods (forEach()) as well as entries(), values(), and keys().

There is also an Internet Explorer-compatible way to use Array.prototype.forEach for iteration:

var list = document.querySelectorAll('input[type=checkbox]');
Array.prototype.forEach.call(list, function (checkbox) {
  checkbox.checked = true;
});

Specifications

Specification Status Comment
DOM
The definition of 'NodeList' in that specification.
Living Standard  
Document Object Model (DOM) Level 3 Core Specification
The definition of 'NodeList' in that specification.
Obsolete  
Document Object Model (DOM) Level 2 Core Specification
The definition of 'NodeList' in that specification.
Obsolete  
Document Object Model (DOM) Level 1 Specification
The definition of 'NodeList' in that specification.
Obsolete Initial definition.

Browser compatibility

FeatureChromeEdgeFirefoxInternet ExplorerOperaSafari
Basic support Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
length112 ? ? ? ?
entries511650 No3810
forEach511650 No3810
item112 ? ? ? ?
keys511650 No3810
values511650 No3810
FeatureAndroid webviewChrome for AndroidEdge mobileFirefox for AndroidOpera AndroidiOS SafariSamsung Internet
Basic support Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
length Yes Yes ? ? ? ? Yes
entries5151 ?50 ?105.0
forEach5151 ?50 ?105.0
item Yes Yes ? ? ? ? Yes
keys5151 ?50 ?105.0
values5151 ?50 ?105.0