The NonDocumentTypeChildNode.previousElementSibling read-only property returns the Element immediately prior to the specified one in its parent's children list, or null if the specified element is the first one in the list.


prevNode = elementNodeReference.previousElementSibling; 


<div id="div-01">Here is div-01</div>
<div id="div-02">Here is div-02</div>
<li>This is a list item</li>
<li>This is another list item</li>
<div id="div-03">Here is div-03</div>

  let el = document.getElementById('div-03').previousElementSibling;
  document.write('<p>Siblings of div-03</p><ol>');
  while (el) {
    document.write('<li>' + el.nodeName + '</li>');
    el = el.previousElementSibling;

This example outputs the following into the page when it loads:

Siblings of div-03

   1. LI
   2. LI
   3. DIV
   4. DIV

Polyfill for Internet Explorer 8

This property is unsupported prior to IE9, so the following snippet can be used to add support to IE8:

// Source:
if(!("previousElementSibling" in document.documentElement)){
    Object.defineProperty(Element.prototype, "previousElementSibling", {
        get: function(){
            var e = this.previousSibling;
            while(e && 1 !== e.nodeType)
                e = e.previousSibling;
            return e;

Polyfill for Internet Explorer 9+ and Safari

// Source:
(function (arr) {
  arr.forEach(function (item) {
    if (item.hasOwnProperty('previousElementSibling')) {
    Object.defineProperty(item, 'previousElementSibling', {
      configurable: true,
      enumerable: true,
      get: function () {
        let el = this;
        while (el = el.previousSibling) {
          if (el.nodeType === 1) {
            return el;
        return null;
      set: undefined
})([Element.prototype, CharacterData.prototype]);


Specification Status Comment
The definition of 'NonDocumentTypeChildNode.previousElementSibling' in that specification.
Living Standard Splitted the ElementTraversal interface in ChildNode, ParentNode, and NonDocumentTypeChildNode. This method is now defined on the former.
The Element and CharacterData interfaces implemented the new interface.
Element Traversal Specification
The definition of 'ElementTraversal.previousElementSibling' in that specification.
Obsolete Added its initial definition to the ElementTraversal pure interface and use it on Element.

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 Chrome Firefox (Gecko) Internet Explorer Opera Safari
Basic support (on Element) 4 3.5 (1.9.1) 9 9.8 4
Support on CharacterData 29.0 25 (25) [1] No support 16.0 No support
Feature Android Firefox Mobile (Gecko) IE Mobile Opera Mobile Safari Mobile
Basic support (on Element) (Yes) 1.0 (1.9.1) (Yes) 9.8 (Yes)
Support on CharacterData (Yes) 25.0 (25) No support 16.0 No support

[1] Firefox 25 also added this property to DocumentType, this was removed in Firefox 28 due to compatibility problems.

See also

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Last updated by: varEnigmatic,