How to Get Element By Class in JavaScript?

I want to replace the contents within a html element so I'm using the following function for that:

function ReplaceContentInContainer(id,content) {
   var container = document.getElementById(id);
   container.innerHTML = content;

ReplaceContentInContainer('box','This is the replacement text');

<div id='box'></div>

The above works great but the problem is I have more than one html element on a page that I want to replace the contents of. So I can't use ids but classes instead. I have been told that javascript does not support any type of inbuilt get element by class function. So how can the above code be revised to make it work with classes instead of ids?

P.S. I don't want to use jQuery for this.

This code should work in all browsers.

function replaceContentInContainer(matchClass, content) {
    var elems = document.getElementsByTagName('*'), i;
    for (i in elems) {
        if((' ' + elems[i].className + ' ').indexOf(' ' + matchClass + ' ')
                > -1) {
            elems[i].innerHTML = content;

The way it works is by looping through all of the elements in the document, and searching their class list for matchClass. If a match is found, the contents is replaced.

jsFiddle Example, using Vanilla JS (i.e. no framework)

Of course, all modern browsers now support the following simpler way:

var elements = document.getElementsByClassName('someClass');

but be warned it doesn't work with IE8 or before. See

Also, not all browsers will return a pure NodeList like they're supposed to.

You're probably still better off using your favorite cross-browser library.


That will work in "modern" browsers that implement that method (IE8+).

function ReplaceContentInContainer(selector, content) {
  var nodeList = document.querySelectorAll(selector);
  for (var i = 0, length = nodeList.length; i < length; i++) {
     nodeList[i].innerHTML = content;

ReplaceContentInContainer(".theclass", "HELLO WORLD");

If you want to provide support for older browsers, you could load a stand-alone selector engine like Sizzle (4KB mini+gzip) or Peppy (10K mini) and fall back to it if the native querySelector method is not found.

Is it overkill to load a selector engine just so you can get elements with a certain class? Probably. However, the scripts aren't all that big and you will may find the selector engine useful in many other places in your script.

A Simple and an easy way

var cusid_ele = document.getElementsByClassName('custid');
for (var i = 0; i < cusid_ele.length; ++i) {
    var item = cusid_ele[i];  
    item.innerHTML = 'this is value';

I'm surprised there are no answers using Regular Expressions. This is pretty much Andrew's answer, using RegExp.test instead of String.indexOf, since it seems to perform better for multiple operations, according to jsPerf tests.
It also seems to be supported on IE6.

function replaceContentInContainer(matchClass, content) {
    var re = new RegExp("(?:^|\\s)" + matchClass + "(?!\\S)"),
        elems = document.getElementsByTagName('*'), i;
    for (i in elems) {
        if (re.test(elems[i].className)) {
            elems[i].innerHTML = content;

replaceContentInContainer("box", "This is the replacement text.");

If you look for the same class(es) frequently, you can further improve it by storing the (precompiled) regular expressions elsewhere, and passing them directly to the function, instead of a string.

function replaceContentInContainer(reClass, content) {
    var elems = document.getElementsByTagName('*'), i;
    for (i in elems) {
        if (reClass.test(elems[i].className)) {
            elems[i].innerHTML = content;

var reBox = /(?:^|\s)box(?!\S)/;
replaceContentInContainer(reBox, "This is the replacement text.");

This should work in pretty much any browser...

function getByClass (className, parent) {
  parent || (parent=document);
  var descendants=parent.getElementsByTagName('*'), i=-1, e, result=[];
  while (e=descendants[++i]) {
    ((' '+(e['class']||e.className)+' ').indexOf(' '+className+' ') > -1) && result.push(e);
  return result;

You should be able to use it like this:

function replaceInClass (className, content) {
  var nodes = getByClass(className), i=-1, node;
  while (node=nodes[++i]) node.innerHTML = content;

var elems = document.querySelectorAll('.one');

for (var i = 0; i < elems.length; i++) {
    elems[i].innerHTML = 'content';

I assume this was not a valid option when this was originally asked, but you can now use document.getElementsByClassName('');. For example:

var elements = document.getElementsByClassName(names); // or:
var elements = rootElement.getElementsByClassName(names);

See the MDN documentation for more.

I think something like:

function ReplaceContentInContainer(klass,content) {
var elems = document.getElementsByTagName('*');
for (i in elems){
    if(elems[i].getAttribute('class') == klass || elems[i].getAttribute('className') == klass){
        elems[i].innerHTML = content;

would work

When some elements lack ID, I use jQuery like this:

    $('.myclass').attr('id', 'myid');

This might be a strange solution, but maybe someone find it useful.

jQuery handles this easy.

let element = $(.myclass);
element.html("Some string");

It changes all the .myclass elements to that text.