Node.previousSibling

The Node.previousSibling read-only property returns the node immediately preceding the specified one in its parent's childNodes list, or null if the specified node is the first in that list.

Syntax

previousNode = node.previousSibling;

Examples

The following examples demonstrate how previousSibling works with and without text nodes mixed in with elements.

First example

In this example, we have a series of img elements directly adjacent to each other, with no whitespace between them.

<img id="b0"><img id="b1"><img id="b2">
document.getElementById("b1").previousSibling;    // <img id="b0">
document.getElementById("b2").previousSibling.id; // "b1"

Second example

In this example, there are whitespace text nodes (line breaks) between the img elements.

<img id="b0">
<img id="b1">
<img id="b2">
document.getElementById("b1").previousSibling;                 // #text
document.getElementById("b1").previousSibling.previousSibling; // <img id="b0">
document.getElementById("b2").previousSibling.previousSibling; // <img id="b1">
document.getElementById("b2").previousSibling;                 // #text
document.getElementById("b2").previousSibling.id;              // undefined

Notes

Gecko-based browsers insert text nodes into a document to represent whitespace in the source markup. Therefore a node obtained, for example, using Node.firstChild or Node.previousSibling may refer to a whitespace text node rather than the actual element the author intended to get. You can use previousElementSibling to get the previous element node (skipping text nodes and any other non-element nodes).

See Whitespace in the DOM and W3C DOM 3 FAQ: Why are some Text nodes empty? for more information.

To navigate the opposite way through the child nodes list use Node.nextSibling.

Specifications

Specification Status Comment
DOM
The definition of 'Node.previousSibling' in that specification.
Living Standard No change
Document Object Model (DOM) Level 3 Core Specification
The definition of 'Node.previousSibling' in that specification.
Obsolete No change
Document Object Model (DOM) Level 2 Core Specification
The definition of 'Node.previousSibling' in that specification.
Obsolete No change
Document Object Model (DOM) Level 1 Specification
The definition of 'Node.previousSibling' in that specification.
Obsolete Initial definition

Browser compatibility

BCD tables only load in the browser

See also