By Jake McGraw

2008-08-27 19:49:41 8 Comments

How can I check the existence of an element in jQuery?

The current code that I have is this:

if ($(selector).length > 0) {
    // Do something

Is there a more elegant way to approach this? Perhaps a plugin or a function?


@Greedo 2020-09-23 09:12:15

I found that this is the most jQuery way, IMHO. Extending the default function is easy and can be done in a global extension file.

$.fn.exist = function(){
  return !!this.length;


<script src=""></script>

<div id="yes">id = yes</div>

@abhirathore2006 2016-07-31 06:42:16

Here is the complete example of different situations and way to check if element exists using direct if on jQuery selector may or may not work because it returns array or elements.

var a = null;

var b = []

var c = undefined ;

if(a) { console.log(" a exist")} else { console.log("a doesn't exit")}
// output: a doesn't exit

if(b) { console.log(" b exist")} else { console.log("b doesn't exit")}
// output: b exist

if(c) { console.log(" c exist")} else { console.log("c doesn't exit")}
// output: c doesn't exit


if($("#xysyxxs").length){ console.log("xusyxxs exist")} else { console.log("xusyxxs doesnn't exist") }
//output : xusyxxs doesnn't exist

if($(".xysyxxs").length){ console.log("xusyxxs exist")} else { console.log("xusyxxs doesnn't exist") }
    //output : xusyxxs doesnn't exist


console.log("existing id", $('#id-1').length)
console.log("non existing id", $('#id-2').length)

console.log("existing class single instance", $('.cls-1').length)
console.log("existing class multiple instance", $('.cls-2').length)
console.log("non existing class", $('.cls-3').length)
<script src=""></script>
<div id="id-1">
  <div class="cls-1 cls-2"></div>
  <div class="cls-2"></div>

@Béranger 2016-09-09 12:27:18

You can try $("#xysyxxs") in your debugger, you'll see that jquery doesn't return null or undefined. So the final solution would not work

@Tim Büthe 2009-02-25 19:16:21

In JavaScript, everything is 'truthy' or 'falsy', and for numbers 0 means false, everything else true. So you could write:

if ($(selector).length)

You don't need that >0 part.

@Robert 2017-06-29 20:35:22

@abhirathore2006 If you use an id selector and the element doesn't exist then length is 0 and doesn't throw exceptions.

@Robert 2017-06-29 20:52:47

Interestingly enough NaN != false.

@James 2017-07-04 15:55:09

@Robert and [] + [] = ""... ahh I love javascript

@Ismael Miguel 2017-07-08 22:09:38

@James That's because [].toString() === [].join(',') === "" and "" === "".

@debute 2017-08-09 13:54:21

[].toString() == "" is true, [].join(',') == "" is also true, [].toString() == [].join(',') again true, [].toString() == "" && [].join(',') == "" still true, but [].toString() == [].join(',') == "" is false... I don't really understand, why the last one is false, when all previous are true.

@Sebastianb 2017-08-25 14:46:50

@debute the last one probably compares true (the boolean result of the first == ) with "", which is false. I.e.: [].toString() == [].join(',') == "" -> true == "" -> false

@oriadam 2018-01-31 11:06:28

@Robert and typeof NaN == 'number'

@Sinjai 2018-02-14 05:09:03

Is there a tangible benefit to not including the > 0 part? Seems clearer to me that way.

@Amit Sharma 2020-03-11 04:48:01

By default - No.

There's the length property that is commonly used for the same result in the following way:

if ($(selector).length)

Here, 'selector' is to be replaced by the actual selector you are interested to find if it exists or not. If it does exist, the length property will output an integer more than 0 and hence the if statement will become true and hence execute the if block. If it doesn't, it will output the integer '0' and hence the if block won't get executed.

@Amit Sharma 2020-03-11 05:09:41

of course there are other elegant ways to get the same result but this is one of the simplest and most effective

@Anurag Deokar 2015-07-09 12:39:01

You can check element is present or not using length in java script. If length is greater than zero then element is present if length is zero then element is not present

// These by Id
if ($("#elementid").length > 0) {
  // Element is Present
} else {
  // Element is not Present

// These by Class
if ($(".elementClass").length > 0) {
  // Element is Present
} else {
  // Element is not Present

@Pranav Labhe 2015-08-22 11:22:53

You need not to check weather length is greater than 0, if( $('#elementid').length ) { } will be sufficient.

@A1rPun 2016-03-16 16:01:29

Have you actually read the question? It's exactly the same method OP is using.

@sina_Islam 2017-10-16 14:23:49

A simple utility function for both id and class selector.

function exist(IdOrClassName, IsId) {
  var elementExit = false;
  if (IsId) {
    elementExit = $("#" + "" + IdOrClassName + "").length ? true : false;
  } else {
    elementExit = $("." + "" + IdOrClassName + "").length ? true : false;
  return elementExit;

calling this function like bellow

$(document).ready(function() {
  $("#btnCheck").click(function() {
    //address is the id so IsId is true. if address is class then need to set IsId false
    if (exist("address", true)) {
    } else {
      alert("not exist");

@Roland 2017-11-14 08:46:06

This way you put it into global namespace. Which you may want to reconsider.

@Abdul Rahman 2018-12-19 04:30:54

I am using this:

 if($("#element").length > 0){
   //the element exists in the page, you can do the rest....

Its very simple and easy to find an element.

@faintsignal 2019-01-11 23:07:56

Your answer adds no new information to what's already been posted. This is merely a subset of the information in the accepted answer.

@chickens 2019-10-17 18:53:20

With jQuery you do not need >0, this is all you need:

if ($(selector).length)

With vanilla JS, you can do the same with:


If you want to turn it into a function that returns bool:

const exists = selector => !!document.querySelector(selector);

  // some code

@Pawel 2016-11-28 10:43:34

No need for jQuery (basic solution)

if(document.querySelector('.a-class')) {
  // do something

Much more performant option below(notice lack of a dot before a-class).

if(document.getElementsByClassName('a-class')[0]) {
  // do something

querySelector uses a proper matching engine like $() (sizzle) in jQuery and uses more computing power but in 99% cases will do just fine. The second option is more explicit and tells the code exactly what to do. It's much faster according to jsperf

@Alireza 2017-05-20 09:21:12

I see most of the answers here are not accurate as they should be, they check element length, it can be OK in many cases, but not 100%, imagine if number pass to the function instead, so I prototype a function which check all conditions and return the answer as it should be:

$.fn.exists = $.fn.exists || function() { 
  return !!(this.length && (this[0] instanceof HTMLDocument || this[0] instanceof HTMLElement)); 

This will check both length and type, Now you can check it this way:

$(1980).exists(); //return false
$([1,2,3]).exists(); //return false
$({name: 'stackoverflow', url: ''}).exists(); //return false
$([{nodeName: 'foo'}]).exists() // returns false
$('div').exists(); //return true
$('.header').exists(); //return true
$(document).exists(); //return true
$('body').exists(); //return true

@Hassan Sadeghi 2018-08-18 06:27:02

Try this.

simple and short and usable in the whole project:

jQuery.fn.exists=function(){return !!this[0];}; //jQuery Plugin




OR EVEN SHORTER: (for when you don't want to define a jQuery plugin):

if(!!$("elem-selector")[0]) ...;

or even

if($("elem-selector")[0]) ...;

@Magne 2012-01-11 12:27:49

The fastest and most semantically self explaining way to check for existence is actually by using plain JavaScript:

if (document.getElementById('element_id')) {
    // Do something

It is a bit longer to write than the jQuery length alternative, but executes faster since it is a native JS method.

And it is better than the alternative of writing your own jQuery function. That alternative is slower, for the reasons @snover stated. But it would also give other programmers the impression that the exists() function is something inherent to jQuery. JavaScript would/should be understood by others editing your code, without increased knowledge debt.

NB: Notice the lack of an '#' before the element_id (since this is plain JS, not jQuery).

@kikito 2012-03-07 16:30:49

Totally not the same thing. JQuery selectors can be used for any CSS rule - for example $('#foo a.special'). And it can return more than one element. getElementById can't begin to approach that.

@Magne 2012-05-10 08:55:38

You are correct in that it isn't as broadly applicable as selectors. However, it does the job quite well in the most common case (checking if a single element exists). The arguments of self-explanation and speed still stands.

@PerryCS 2013-02-10 03:04:13

WHile I prefer the Jquery method I always like seeing the original raw method of doing things! Gives more understanding when you see Jquery doing stuff.

@Noz 2013-05-27 20:21:43

Maybe something like if('#foo a.special')[0]) if you still wanted to use jQuery selectors? Though, I guess that kind of defeats the purpose.

@SpYk3HH 2013-10-02 17:26:58

Even when you wrote this in 2012, the arguments of speed did not stand due to change in standards of technology. The argument of speed in JavaScript Engines has been dead for years now.

@Blue Skies 2013-12-08 00:43:53

@Noz if(document.querySelector("#foo a.special")) would work. No jQuery needed.

@Blue Skies 2013-12-08 00:45:52

The argument of speed in JS engines is only dead in the mind of people who can't function without jQuery, since it's an argument they can't win.

@JustJohn 2014-11-18 21:05:44

Remember the good old days when document.getElementById was all we had? And I always forgot the document. and couldn't figure out why it didn't work. And I always spelled it wrong and got the character casing wrong.

@AGamePlayer 2016-03-05 03:33:32

I would quit writing JavaScript if I had to: 1) work without debug console or 2) work with getElementById

@nnnnnn 2016-07-08 03:31:53

Obviously the vanilla JS methods are faster, but note that the question didn't specify selection by element id, so really you need document.querySelector(), and even that can't handle all of the selectors that jQuery can. So while calling a single, native JS function for this purpose is good, in some cases you'd have to write extra code. (Also, if ($(selector).length) is pretty self-explanatory - I really don't think it would confuse anyone with any JS experience.)

@eithed 2016-08-23 15:59:33

Good luck testing :visible, or any of other custom jquery selectors

@Kamuran Sönecek 2016-03-25 11:05:49

$("selector") returns an object which has the length property. If the selector finds any elements, they will be included in the object. So if you check its length you can see if any elements exist. In JavaScript 0 == false, so if you don't get 0 your code will run.

   //code in the case

@Quentin 2016-04-27 12:33:17

"give an array" — No, it doesn't. It gives you a jQuery object (which shares some properties with an array). Your answer is essentially the same as Tim Büthe's from 2009 too.

@Majedur Rahaman 2018-12-20 08:38:46

Just check the length of the selector, if it more than 0 then it's return true otherwise false.

For ID:

 if( $('#selector').length )         // use this if you are using id to check
     // it exists

For Class:

 if( $('.selector').length )         // use this if you are using class to check
     // it exists

For Dropdown:

if( $('#selector option').size() ) {   // use this if you are using dropdown size to check

   // it exists

@hiway 2013-10-23 05:46:50

Is $.contains() what you want?

jQuery.contains( container, contained )

The $.contains() method returns true if the DOM element provided by the second argument is a descendant of the DOM element provided by the first argument, whether it is a direct child or nested more deeply. Otherwise, it returns false. Only element nodes are supported; if the second argument is a text or comment node, $.contains() will return false.

Note: The first argument must be a DOM element, not a jQuery object or plain JavaScript object.

@user1106925 2016-06-04 13:28:17

This doesn't accept a selector, which means he would have to select it, which means he could just check the result of his selection.

@Rafal Enden 2018-08-23 16:22:24

Use querySelectorAll with forEach, no need for if and extra assignment:

document.querySelectorAll('.my-element').forEach((element) => {

as the opposite to:

const myElement = document.querySelector('.my-element');
if (myElement) {

@Manish Vadher 2018-08-16 12:27:20

The input won't have a value if it doesn't exist. Try this...


@Jonas Lundman 2018-03-17 02:54:24

All answers is not working bullet proof to check existence of an element in jQuery. After many years of coding, only this solution does not throw any warnings about existance or not:

if($(selector).get(0)) { // Do stuff }

Or to bail instead in the beginning of your function:

if(!$(selector).get(0)) return;


In this case, you dont have to deal with zero | null lengths issues. This forces to fetch an element, not count them.

@Tilak Maddy 2017-03-22 14:32:49

Checking for existence of an element is documented neatly in the official jQuery website itself!

Use the .length property of the jQuery collection returned by your selector:

if ($("#myDiv").length) {

Note that it isn't always necessary to test whether an element exists. The following code will show the element if it exists, and do nothing (with no errors) if it does not:


@Andrei Todorut 2017-06-20 09:43:38

You don't have to check if it's greater than 0 like $(selector).length > 0, $(selector).length it's enough and a elegant way to check the existence of elements. I don't think that is worth to write a function only for this, if you want to do more extra things, yes.

  // true if length is not 0
} else {
  // false if length is 0

@Jake McGraw 2008-08-27 19:50:03


jQuery.fn.exists = function(){ return this.length > 0; }

if ($(selector).exists()) {
    // Do something

This is in response to: Herding Code podcast with Jeff Atwood

@vsync 2009-11-24 09:22:59

I just write: if( $(selector).length ){ ... } without the '> 0'

@C Snover 2010-05-30 04:14:28

Your $.fn.exists example is replacing a property lookup (cheap!) with two function calls, which are much more expensive—and one of those function calls recreates a jQuery object that you already have, which is just silly.

@Ben Zotto 2010-08-02 20:52:03

@redsquare: Code readability is the best rationale for adding this sort of function on jQuery. Having something called .exists reads cleanly, whereas .length reads as something semantically different, even if the semantics coincide with an identical result.

@redsquare 2010-08-03 00:13:13

@quixoto, sorry but .length is a standard across many languages that does not need wrapping. How else do you interpret .length?

@Ben Zotto 2010-08-03 00:29:08

In my opinion, it's at least one logical indirection from the concept of "a list length that is greater than zero" to the concept of "the element(s) I wrote a selector for exist". Yeah, they're the same thing technically, but the conceptual abstraction is at a different level. This causes some people to prefer a more explicit indicator, even at some performance cost.

@KitsuneYMG 2014-03-05 19:27:54

What a terrible answer. What if selector matches hundreds of nodes and the first one exists? It should bail and return true immediately. No point in bothering with the rest of it. example: if( $('div.tag:contains("nsfw")').exist() ) agecheck(); on an imageboard or something

@cowbert 2015-06-01 09:06:37

"Some people, when confronted with a problem, think 'I know, I'll extend the base library.' Now they have two problems." Once you've defined this function and start using .exists() everywhere, all of that code becomes unportable in the absence of such a function definition. Sounds like this would reduce maintainability.

@earnaz 2015-09-16 16:19:43

Great answer...but try any number, for example: $(666).exists() //the result is true (wrong)

@AndFisher 2017-08-24 11:39:36

A jQuery collection will "exist", whether it is empty or not. You wouldn't feel the need to Array.prototype.exists = function() {return this.length;} for code readability.

@Jonathan Cardoz 2016-08-23 13:37:49

Use the following syntax to check if the element actually exists using jQuery.

let oElement = $(".myElementClass");
if(oElement[0]) {
    // Do some jQuery operation here using oElement
else {
    // Unable to fetch the object

@Sunil Kumar 2016-07-26 05:32:26

Yes The best method of doing this :

By JQuery :

   //code in the case

selector can be Element ID OR Element Class


If you don't want to use jQuery Library then you can achieve this by using Core JavaScript :

By JavaScript :

if(document.getElementById("ElementID")) {
    //Do something...

@Star 2017-08-10 13:20:14

if "ElementID" doesn't exist then it will not throw error in if condition?

@Yanni 2011-04-03 12:17:06

You can use this:

// if element exists
if($('selector').length){ /* do something */ }

// if element does not exist
if(!$('selector').length){ /* do something */ }

@Th4t Guy 2014-07-31 17:28:18

Did you not see that Tim Büthe had already given this answer 2 years prior to you?

@Jeremy W 2015-08-05 15:03:19

Pfft, Tim never showed how to test if the element does not exist.

@aswzen 2018-04-03 08:48:01

this answer and comments sums up how stackoverflow works

@Sanu Uthaiah Bollera 2016-06-18 22:37:03

I just like to use plain vanilla javascript to do this.

function isExists(selector){
  return document.querySelectorAll(selector).length>0;

@SpYk3HH 2012-11-09 17:47:58

This plugin can be used in an if statement like if ($(ele).exist()) { /* DO WORK */ } or using a callback.


;;(function($) {
    if (!$.exist) {
            exist: function() {
                var ele, cbmExist, cbmNotExist;
                if (arguments.length) {
                    for (x in arguments) {
                        switch (typeof arguments[x]) {
                            case 'function':
                                if (typeof cbmExist == "undefined") cbmExist = arguments[x];
                                else cbmNotExist = arguments[x];
                            case 'object':
                                if (arguments[x] instanceof jQuery) ele = arguments[x];
                                else {
                                    var obj = arguments[x];
                                    for (y in obj) {
                                        if (typeof obj[y] == 'function') {
                                            if (typeof cbmExist == "undefined") cbmExist = obj[y];
                                            else cbmNotExist = obj[y];
                                        if (typeof obj[y] == 'object' && obj[y] instanceof jQuery) ele = obj[y];
                                        if (typeof obj[y] == 'string') ele = $(obj[y]);
                            case 'string':
                                ele = $(arguments[x]);

                if (typeof cbmExist == 'function') {
                    var exist =  ele.length > 0 ? true : false;
                    if (exist) {
                        return ele.each(function(i) { cbmExist.apply(this, [exist, ele, i]); });
                    else if (typeof cbmNotExist == 'function') {
                        cbmNotExist.apply(ele, [exist, ele]);
                        return ele;
                    else {
                        if (ele.length <= 1) return ele.length > 0 ? true : false;
                        else return ele.length;
                else {
                    if (ele.length <= 1) return ele.length > 0 ? true : false;
                    else return ele.length;

                return false;
            exist: function() {
                var args = [$(this)];
                if (arguments.length) for (x in arguments) args.push(arguments[x]);
                return $.exist.apply($, args);


You may specify one or two callbacks. The first one will fire if the element exists, the second one will fire if the element does not exist. However, if you choose to pass only one function, it will only fire when the element exists. Thus, the chain will die if the selected element does not exist. Of course, if it does exist, the first function will fire and the chain will continue.

Keep in mind that using the callback variant helps maintain chainability – the element is returned and you can continue chaining commands as with any other jQuery method!

Example Uses

if ($.exist('#eleID')) {    /*    DO WORK    */ }        //    param as STRING
if ($.exist($('#eleID'))) { /*    DO WORK    */ }        //    param as jQuery OBJECT
if ($('#eleID').exist()) {  /*    DO WORK    */ }        //    enduced on jQuery OBJECT

$.exist('#eleID', function() {            //    param is STRING && CALLBACK METHOD
    /*    DO WORK    */
    /*    This will ONLY fire if the element EXIST    */
}, function() {            //    param is STRING && CALLBACK METHOD
    /*    DO WORK    */
    /*    This will ONLY fire if the element DOES NOT EXIST    */

$('#eleID').exist(function() {            //    enduced on jQuery OBJECT with CALLBACK METHOD
    /*    DO WORK    */
    /*    This will ONLY fire if the element EXIST    */

$.exist({                        //    param is OBJECT containing 2 key|value pairs: element = STRING, callback = METHOD
    element: '#eleID',
    callback: function() {
        /*    DO WORK    */
        /*    This will ONLY fire if the element EXIST    */

@Chris Marisic 2016-06-16 17:46:29

On the callback version, shouldn't the Has Items callback actually pass in the object as an argument?

@Amitābha 2013-06-01 07:20:02

You could use this:

    exists: function() { return this.length }

if($(selector).exists()){/*do something*/}

@ducdhm 2016-03-08 17:06:55

Here is my favorite exist method in jQuery

$.fn.exist = function(callback) {
    return $(this).each(function () {
        var target = $(this);

        if (this.length > 0 && typeof callback === 'function') {

and other version which supports callback when selector does not exist

$.fn.exist = function(onExist, onNotExist) {
    return $(this).each(function() {
        var target = $(this);

        if (this.length > 0) {
            if (typeof onExist === 'function') {
        } else {
            if (typeof onNotExist === 'function') {


$('#foo .bar').exist(
    function () {
        // Stuff when '#foo .bar' exists
    function () {
        // Stuff when '#foo .bar' does not exist

@Oliver 2015-10-13 20:01:38

Inspired by hiway's answer I came up with the following:

$.fn.exists = function() {
    return $.contains( document.documentElement, this[0] );

jQuery.contains takes two DOM elements and checks whether the first one contains the second one.

Using document.documentElement as the first argument fulfills the semantics of the exists method when we want to apply it solely to check the existence of an element in the current document.

Below, I've put together a snippet that compares jQuery.exists() against the $(sel)[0] and $(sel).length approaches which both return truthy values for $(4) while $(4).exists() returns false. In the context of checking for existence of an element in the DOM this seems to be the desired result.

$.fn.exists = function() {
    return $.contains(document.documentElement, this[0]); 
  var testFuncs = [
    function(jq) { return !!jq[0]; },
    function(jq) { return !!jq.length; },
    function(jq) { return jq.exists(); },
  var inputs = [
  for( var i = 0, l = inputs.length, tr, input; i < l; i++ ) {
    input = inputs[i][1];
    tr = "<tr><td>" + inputs[i][0] + "</td><td>"
          + testFuncs[0](input) + "</td><td>"
          + testFuncs[1](input) + "</td><td>"
          + testFuncs[2](input) + "</td></tr>";
td { border: 1px solid black }
<script src=""></script>
<div id="idoexist">#idoexist</div>
<table style>
  $.fn.exists = function() {
    return $.contains(document.documentElement, this[0]); 

@guest271314 2015-08-09 02:55:59

Try testing for DOM element

if (!!$(selector)[0]) // do stuff

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