DOM Using CSS styles


The interfaces detailed herein were introduced in DOM Level 2 Style, which came out at approximately the same time as DOM Level 2 Core and is thus considered "part of DOM version 2".

Reading and changing inline styles

Inline style

You can manipulate the inline CSS style of an HTML element by simply reading or editing its style property.

Assume the following element:

<div id="element_id" style="color:blue;width:200px;">abc</div>

With this JavaScript applied:

var element = document.getElementById('element_id');

// read the color
console.log(; // blue

//Set the color to red = 'red';

//To remove a property, set it to null = null; = null;

However, if width: 200px; were set in an external CSS stylesheet, = null would have no effect. In this case, to reset the style, you would have to set it to initial: = 'initial'.

Reading and changing styles from a stylesheet only reads CSS properties set inline, as an element attribute. However, styles are often set in an external stylesheet. The actual style of an element can be accessed with window.getComputedStyle(element). This function returns an object containing the actual computed value of all the styles.

Similar to the Reading and changing inline styles example, but now the styles are in a stylesheet:

<div id="element_id">abc</div>
<style type="text/css">
    #element_id {


var element = document.getElementById('element_id');

// read the color
console.log(; // '' -- empty string
console.log(window.getComputedStyle(element).color); // rgb(0, 0, 255)

// read the width, reset it, then read it again
console.log(window.getComputedStyle(element).width); // 200px = 'initial';
console.log(window.getComputedStyle(element).width); // 885px (for example)