Node.appendChild()

The appendChild() method of the Node interface adds a node to the end of the list of children of a specified parent node. If the given child is a reference to an existing node in the document, appendChild() moves it from its current position to the new position.

If the given child is a DocumentFragment, the entire contents of the DocumentFragment are moved into the child list of the specified parent node.

appendChild() returns the newly appended node, or if the child is a DocumentFragment, the emptied fragment.

Note: Unlike this method, the Element.append() method supports multiple arguments and appending strings. You can prefer using it if your node is an element.

Syntax

appendChild(aChild)

Parameters

aChild

The node to append to the given parent node (commonly an element).

Return value

A Node that is the appended child (aChild), except when aChild is a DocumentFragment, in which case the empty DocumentFragment is returned.

Exceptions

HierarchyRequestError DOMException

Thrown when the constraints of the DOM tree are violated, that is if one of the following cases occurs:

Description

If the given child is a reference to an existing node in the document, appendChild() moves it from its current position to the new position — there is no requirement to remove the node from its parent node before appending it to some other node. This means that a node can't be in two points of the document simultaneously. The Node.cloneNode() method can be used to make a copy of the node before appending it under the new parent. Copies made with cloneNode are not automatically kept in sync.

appendChild() returns the newly appended node, instead of the parent node. This means you can append the new node as soon as it's created without losing reference to it:

const paragraph = document.body.appendChild(document.createElement('p'));
// You can append more elements to the paragraph later

On the other hand, you cannot use appendChild() in a fluent API fashion (like JQuery).

// This doesn't append three paragraphs:
// the three elements will be nested instead of siblings
document.body
  .appendChild(document.createElement('p'))
  .appendChild(document.createElement('p'))
  .appendChild(document.createElement('p'));

Example

Append a paragraph to the body

// Create a new paragraph element, and append it to the end of the document body
const p = document.createElement("p");
document.body.appendChild(p);

Creating a nested DOM structure

In this example, we attempt to create a nested DOM structure using as few temporary variables as possible.

const fragment = document.createDocumentFragment();
const li = fragment
  .appendChild(document.createElement('section'))
  .appendChild(document.createElement('ul'))
  .appendChild(document.createElement('li'));
li.textContent = 'hello world';

document.body.appendChild(fragment);

It generates the following DOM tree:

<section>
  <ul>
    <li>hello world</li>
  </ul>
</section>

Specifications

Specification
DOM Standard
# dom-node-appendchild

Browser compatibility

BCD tables only load in the browser

See also