JavaScript Answers

How to Change an Element’s Class with JavaScript?

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If we’re working with web front end apps, then changing an element’s class is something that we’ve to do often.

In this article, we’ll take a look at how to change an element’s class with JavaScript.

The classList Property

An element has the classList property to let us manipulate the classes that are applied to the element.

For instance, if we have a div:

  hello world

Then to add a class to the div, we can write:


We call add to add the 'hello' class to the div.

If the hello class is already added, then nothing will be done.

To remove a class, we can call the classList.remove method:


To check if a class is already present in an element, we can use the classList.contains method:


It returns true if the class is applied to the div and false otherwise.

And to toggle class that’s applied to an element, we can call the classList.toggle method:


If the hello class is applied to the div, then it’ll be removed.

Otherwise, the hello class will be added to the div.

This is available in most recent browsers.

The className Property

Another way to manipulate classes of an element is to manipulate the className string property.

For instance, we can write:

document.querySelector("div").className = 'hello';

We get the div and set the className to 'hello' to set the class attribute of the div to 'hello' .

To add a class by manipulating the className property, we can write:

document.querySelector("div").className += ' hello';

We add a space and hello to add the hello class to the div.

To remove the hello class, we can use the replace method:

document.querySelector("div").className.replace(/(?:^|s)hello(?!S)/g, '')

We check for hello with possible spaces at the start or end of the class name and replace them with an empty string.

The g flag will find all the instances of this and do the replacement on all of them.

To find if a class is in the div, we can write:


We call match with the regex that matches hello with whitespace before or after it to check if the class is in the className string.


The best and easiest way to manipulate classes of an HTML element is to use the classList property.

Alternatively, we can also manipulate the className string property to change the class attribute of an element.

By John Au-Yeung

Web developer specializing in React, Vue, and front end development.

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