Document.documentElement returns the Element that is the root element of the document (for example, the <html> element for HTML documents).


const element = document.documentElement


const rootElement = document.documentElement;
const firstTier = rootElement.childNodes;
// firstTier is a NodeList of the direct children of the root element
// such as <head> and <body>

for (const child of firstTier) {
   // do something with each direct child of the root element


For any non-empty HTML document, documentElement will always be an <html> element. For any non-empty XML document, documentElement will always be whatever element is the root element of the document.


Specification Status Comment
The definition of 'Document.documentElement' in that specification.
Living Standard

Browser compatibility

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ChromeEdgeFirefoxInternet ExplorerOperaSafariAndroid webviewChrome for AndroidFirefox for AndroidOpera for AndroidSafari on iOSSamsung Internet
documentElementChrome Full support 1Edge Full support 12Firefox Full support 1IE Full support 5Opera Full support 7Safari Full support 1WebView Android Full support 1Chrome Android Full support 18Firefox Android Full support 4Opera Android Full support 10.1Safari iOS Full support 1Samsung Internet Android Full support 1.0


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