DOM-Tricks

The good kind of manipulation

Managing CSS styles

Managing css styles in JavaScript can happen in a few different ways depending on your needs.

Set and get inline styles

Setting a css style is done on the style property using the "camelCase" name. This is the quickest way to apply a css style in JavaScript to an element.

elem.style.fontSize = '1rem';

Getting a css style is done by accessing style property using the "camelCase" name.

If the style wasn't written in the HTML, you cannot get the styles applied.

// fontSize === '1rem' since we set it in JavaScript above
const fontSize = elem.style.fontSize;

// backgroundColor === '' because we did not set this property, it will not determine what the default value is either
const backgroundColor = elem.style.backgroundColor;

Get computed styles

In some cases, you'd like to know what css styles are applied to an element. This means we must "compute" the styles.

First let's add some style to the page programmatically. This could be done as a normal .css file too.

const style = document.createElement('style');
style.textContent = 'div { background: #ff0000; }';
document.head.appendChild(style);

Now let's get the computed style.

const computedStyle = window.getComputedStyle(elem);
const bgColor = computedStyle.getPropertyValue('background-color');

Note: bgColor resolves to rgb(255, 0, 0), not the exact value found in the .css file or in our case the hex value (#ff0000) that we set above.

Get the default styles

Here's a method to determine the default (user-agent) styles of an element

// Create a new element
const elem = document.createElement('div');

// Add it to the DOM
document.body.appendChild(elem);

// Get the computed style
const computedStyle = window.getComputedStyle(elem);

// Find the value(s) you want to check
const display = computedStyle.getPropertyValue('display');

// Remove it from the DOM
document.body.removeChild(elem);

It's important to get the computed style before removing it from the DOM. Computing the style happens on the actual element as it exists in the page. If it's not there, the styles will not exist and therefore cannot be computed.

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