How to Change the Value of an HTML Element’s Attribute in JavaScript

Web pages are designed using multiple programming languages. Two such web programming languages are HTML and JavaScript. HTML is a web language used to build the basic structure of web pages, meanwhile, JavaScript is used to include dynamic content to the web pages in order to make them captivating. They both have different distinguishing features that make them stand out. One such feature is HTML DOM. HTML DOM which is short for Document Object Model permits JavaScript to change the content of HTML elements.

For the purpose of changing the attribute value of an HTML element using JavaScript, HTML DOM provides multiple methods. Using these methods you can alter the attribute value of an HTML element in the following ways:

  1. Using getAttribute() method
  2. Using setAttribute() method

Let’s discuss each of these in detail.

1. Get Attribute

As the name suggests the getAttribute() method is to extract the current value of the attribute. The syntax of the getAttribute() method is as follows.

Syntax of getAttribute() method

element.getAttribute (attributename);

Lets see example to further understanding.


Suppose, you want to change src attribute value of <img> element.

<img id= "image1" src= "dogpic.jpg">

The above code shows a Nature picture.

Now we want to change this dog image to a cat image. We use the following code.


The full example with output is shown below.

<!DOCTYPE html>

<img id= "image1" src= "nature.jpg">

<p>The nature image is changed to snow image</p>


2. Set Attribute

In order to set an attribute on a specific element, we use the setAttribute() method. It updates the value of an attribute existing on an element or sets a new attribute with a new name and value on an element if one does not exist. The syntax of this method is as follows.

Syntax of setAttribute ( ) method

element.setAttribute(attributename, attributevalue);

Let’s see an example to better understand the method.


First we create a simple button with a label of “Click here”.

<button type="button" id="mybtn">Click here</button>

Now we have to select the <button> element and we will do that using its id.

var btn = document.getElementById("myBtn");

Now we will use the setAttribute ( ) method to set new attributes.

btn.setAttribute("class", "click-btn");
btn.setAttribute("enable", " ");

The full code alongwith output is shown below.

<!DOCTYPE html>
       <button type="button" id="mybtn">Click here</button>
              var btn = document.getElementById("myBtn"); //This selects an element
              btn.setAttribute("class", "click-btn"); //This set new attributes
              btn.setAttribute("enable", " "); //This sets new attributes


To change the attribute value of an HTML element HTML DOM provides two methods which are getAttribute() and setAttribute(). The getAttribute() is used to extract the current value of the attribute while setAttribute() is used to alter the value of the attribute. In this tutorial both of these methods are discussed in detail along with suitable examples.

About the author

Naima Aftab

I am a software engineering professional with a profound interest in writing. I am pursuing technical writing as my full-time career and sharing my knowledge through my words.