How to insert an element after another element in JavaScript without using a library?

There's insertBefore() in JavaScript, but how can I insert an element after another element without using jQuery or another library?

referenceNode.parentNode.insertBefore(newNode, referenceNode.nextSibling);

Where referenceNode is the node you want to put newNode after. If referenceNode is the last child within its parent element, that's fine, because referenceNode.nextSibling will be null and insertBefore handles that case by adding to the end of the list.


function insertAfter(newNode, referenceNode) {
    referenceNode.parentNode.insertBefore(newNode, referenceNode.nextSibling);

Try it here.

Straightforward JavaScript Would Be the Following:

Append Before:

element.parentNode.insertBefore(newElement, element);

Append After:

element.parentNode.insertBefore(newElement, element.nextSibling);

But, Toss Some Prototypes In There For Ease of Use

By building the following prototypes, you will be able to call these function directly from newly created elements.

  • newElement.appendBefore(element);

  • newElement.appendAfter(element);

.appendBefore(element) Prototype

Element.prototype.appendBefore = function (element) {
  element.parentNode.insertBefore(this, element);

.appendAfter(element) Prototype

Element.prototype.appendAfter = function (element) {
  element.parentNode.insertBefore(this, element.nextSibling);

And, To See It All In Action, Run the Following Code Snippet

/* Adds Element BEFORE NeighborElement */
Element.prototype.appendBefore = function(element) {
  element.parentNode.insertBefore(this, element);
}, false;

/* Adds Element AFTER NeighborElement */
Element.prototype.appendAfter = function(element) {
  element.parentNode.insertBefore(this, element.nextSibling);
}, false;

/* Typical Creation and Setup A New Orphaned Element Object */
var NewElement = document.createElement('div');
NewElement.innerHTML = 'New Element'; = 'NewElement';

/* Add NewElement BEFORE -OR- AFTER Using the Aforementioned Prototypes */
div {
  text-align: center;
#Neighborhood {
  color: brown;
#NewElement {
  color: green;
<div id="Neighborhood">
  <div id="Neighbor1">Neighbor 1</div>
  <div id="Neighbor2">Neighbor 2</div>
  <div id="Neighbor3">Neighbor 3</div>

Run it on JSFiddle

insertAdjacentHTML + outerHTML

elementBefore.insertAdjacentHTML('afterEnd', elementAfter.outerHTML)


  • DRYer: you don't have to store the before node in a variable and use it twice. If you rename the variable, on less occurrence to modify.
  • golfs better than the insertBefore (break even if the existing node variable name is 3 chars long)


  • lower browser support since newer:
  • will lose properties of the element such as events because outerHTML converts the element to a string. We need it because insertAdjacentHTML adds content from strings rather than elements.

A quick Google search reveals this script

// create function, it expects 2 values.
function insertAfter(newElement,targetElement) {
    // target is what you want it to go after. Look for this elements parent.
    var parent = targetElement.parentNode;

    // if the parents lastchild is the targetElement...
    if (parent.lastChild == targetElement) {
        // add the newElement after the target element.
    } else {
        // else the target has siblings, insert the new element between the target and it's next sibling.
        parent.insertBefore(newElement, targetElement.nextSibling);

Though insertBefore() (see MDN) is great and referenced by most answers here. For added flexibility, and to be a little more explicit, you can use:

insertAdjacentElement() (see MDN) This lets you reference any element, and insert the to-be moved element exactly where you want:

<!-- refElem.insertAdjacentElement('beforebegin', moveMeElem); -->
<p id="refElem">
    <!-- refElem.insertAdjacentElement('afterbegin', moveMeElem); -->
    ... content ...
    <!-- refElem.insertAdjacentElement('beforeend', moveMeElem); -->
<!-- refElem.insertAdjacentElement('afterend', moveMeElem); -->

Others to consider for similar use cases: insertAdjacentHTML() and insertAdjacentText()


node1.after(node2) produces <node1/><node2/>,

where node1 and node2 are DOM nodes.

.after() is not supported on older browsers [1], so you might need to apply a polyfill.


Or you can simply do:

referenceNode.parentNode.insertBefore( newNode, referenceNode )
referenceNode.parentNode.insertBefore( referenceNode, newNode )

Step 1. Prepare Elements :

var element = document.getElementById('ElementToAppendAfter');
var newElement = document.createElement('div');
var elementParent = element.parentNode;

Step 2. Append after :

elementParent.insertBefore(newElement, element.nextSibling);

insertBefore() method is used like parentNode.insertBefore(). So to imitate this and make a method parentNode.insertAfter() we can write the following code.


Node.prototype.insertAfter = function(newNode, referenceNode) {
    return referenceNode.parentNode.insertBefore(
        newNode, referenceNode.nextSibling); // based on karim79's solution

// getting required handles
var refElem = document.getElementById("pTwo");
var parent = refElem.parentNode;

// creating <p>paragraph three</p>
var txt = document.createTextNode("paragraph three");
var paragraph = document.createElement("p");

// now we can call it the same way as insertBefore()
parent.insertAfter(paragraph, refElem);


<div id="divOne">
    <p id="pOne">paragraph one</p>
    <p id="pTwo">paragraph two</p>

Note, that extending the DOM might not be the right solution for You as stated in this article.

Hovewer, this article was written in 2010 and things might be different now. So decide on Your own.

JavaScript DOM insertAfter() method @

Ideally insertAfter should work similar to insertBefore. The code below will perform the following:

  • If there are no children, the new Node is appended
  • If there is no reference Node, the new Node is appended
  • If there is no Node after the reference Node, the new Node is appended
  • If there the reference Node has a sibling after, then the new Node is inserted before that sibling
  • Returns the new Node

Extending Node

Node.prototype.insertAfter = function(node, referenceNode) {

    if (node)
        this.insertBefore(node, referenceNode && referenceNode.nextSibling);

    return node;

One common example

node.parentNode.insertAfter(newNode, node);

See the code running

// First extend
Node.prototype.insertAfter = function(node, referenceNode) {
    if (node)
        this.insertBefore(node, referenceNode && referenceNode.nextSibling);

    return node;

var referenceNode,

newNode = document.createElement('li')
newNode.innerText = 'First new item'; = '#FF0000';


newNode = document.createElement('li');
newNode.innerText = 'Second new item'; = '#FF0000';


referenceNode = document.getElementById('no-sibling-after');
newNode = document.createElement('li');
newNode.innerText = 'Third new item'; = '#FF0000';

referenceNode.parentNode.insertAfter(newNode, referenceNode);

referenceNode = document.getElementById('sibling-after');
newNode = document.createElement('li');
newNode.innerText = 'Fourth new item'; = '#FF0000';

referenceNode.parentNode.insertAfter(newNode, referenceNode);
<h5>No children</h5>
<ul id="no-children"></ul>

<h5>No reference node</h5>
<ul id="no-reference-node">
  <li>First item</li>

<h5>No sibling after</h5>
  <li id="no-sibling-after">First item</li>

<h5>Sibling after</h5>
  <li id="sibling-after">First item</li>
  <li>Third item</li>

I know this question has far too many answers already, but none of them met my exact requirements.

I wanted a function that has the exact opposite behavior of parentNode.insertBefore - that is, it must accept a null referenceNode (which the accepted answer does not) and where insertBefore would insert at the end of the children this one must insert at the start, since otherwise there'd be no way to insert at the start location with this function at all; the same reason insertBefore inserts at the end.

Since a null referenceNode requires you to locate the parent, we need to know the parent - insertBefore is a method of the parentNode, so it has access to the parent that way; our function doesn't, so we'll need to pass the parent as a parameter.

The resulting function looks like this:

function insertAfter(parentNode, newNode, referenceNode) {
    referenceNode ? referenceNode.nextSibling : parentNode.firstChild

Or (if you must, I don't recommend it) you can of course enhance the Node prototype:

if (! Node.prototype.insertAfter) {
  Node.prototype.insertAfter = function(newNode, referenceNode) {
      referenceNode ? referenceNode.nextSibling : this.firstChild

I know this question is Ancient, but for any future users, heres a modified prototype

this is just a micro polyfill for the .insertAfter function that doesnt exist

this prototype directly adds a new function baseElement.insertAfter(element); to the Element prototype:

Element.prototype.insertAfter = function(new) {
    this.parentNode.insertBefore(new, this.nextSibling);

Once youve placed the polyfill in a library, gist, or just in your code (or anywhere else where it can be referenced)

Just write document.getElementById('foo').insertAfter(document.createElement('bar'));

This code is work to insert a link item right after the last existing child to inlining a small css file

var raf, cb=function(){
    //create newnode
    var link=document.createElement('link');

    //insert after the lastnode
    var nodes=document.getElementsByTagName('link'); //existing nodes
    var lastnode=document.getElementsByTagName('link')[nodes.length-1]; 
    lastnode.parentNode.insertBefore(link, lastnode.nextSibling);

//check before insert
try {

if (raf)raf(cb); else window.addEventListener('load',cb);

You can use appendChild function to insert after an element.


a robust implementation of insertAfter.

// source:
Node.prototype.insertAfter = Node.prototype.insertAfter || function (newNode, referenceNode) {
  function isNode(node) {
    return node instanceof Node;

  if(arguments.length < 2){
    throw(new TypeError("Failed to execute 'insertAfter' on 'Node': 2 arguments required, but only "+ arguments.length +" present."));

    if(referenceNode === null || referenceNode === undefined){
      return this.insertBefore(newNode, referenceNode);

      return this.insertBefore(newNode, referenceNode.nextSibling);

    throw(new TypeError("Failed to execute 'insertAfter' on 'Node': parameter 2 is not of type 'Node'."));

  throw(new TypeError("Failed to execute 'insertAfter' on 'Node': parameter 1 is not of type 'Node'."));


Lets handle all the scenarios

 function insertAfter(newNode, referenceNode) {
        if(referenceNode && referenceNode.nextSibling && referenceNode.nextSibling.nodeName == '#text')
            referenceNode = referenceNode.nextSibling;

        else if(!referenceNode.nextSibling)
            referenceNode.parentNode.insertBefore(newNode, referenceNode.nextSibling);            

if( !Element.prototype.insertAfter ) {
    Element.prototype.insertAfter = function(item, reference) {
        if( reference.nextSibling )
            reference.parentNode.insertBefore(item, reference.nextSibling);

You can actually a method called after() in newer version of Chrome, Firefox and Opera. The downside of this method is that Internet Explorer doesn't support it yet.


// You could create a simple node
var node = document.createElement('p')

// And then get the node where you want to append the created node after
var existingNode = document.getElementById('id_of_the_element')

// Finally you can append the created node to the exisitingNode

A simple HTML Code to test that is:

<!DOCTYPE html>
     <p id='up'>Up</p>
    <p id="down">Down</p>
  <button id="switchBtn" onclick="switch_place()">Switch place</button>
    function switch_place(){
      var downElement = document.getElementById("down")
      var upElement = document.getElementById("up")
      document.getElementById('switchBtn').innerHTML = "Switched!"

As expected, it moves the up element after the down element

This is the simplest way we can add an element after another one using vanilla javascript

var d1 = document.getElementById('one');
d1.insertAdjacentHTML('afterend', '<div id="two">two</div>');