How to get element by innerText

0 votes
asked Sep 28, 2010 by dublicator

How to get tag in html page, if I know what text tag contains. E.g.:

<a ...>SearchingText</a>

8 Answers

0 votes
answered Jan 28, 2010 by jeff-meyers

I think you'll need to be a bit more specific for us to help you.

  1. How are you finding this? Javascript? PHP? Perl?
  2. Can you apply an ID attribute to the tag?

If the text is unique (or really, if it's not, but you'd have to run through an array) you could run a regular expression to find it. Using PHP's preg_match() would work for that.

If you're using Javascript and can insert an ID attribute, then you can use getElementById('id'). You can then access the returned element's attributes through the DOM:

0 votes
answered Sep 28, 2010 by august-lilleaas

You'll have to traverse by hand.

var aTags = document.getElementsByTagName("a");
var searchText = "SearchingText";
var found;

for (var i = 0; i < aTags.length; i++) {
  if (aTags[i].textContent == searchText) {
    found = aTags[i];

// Use `found`.
0 votes
answered Sep 28, 2010 by zack-marrapese

While it's possible to get by the inner text, I think you are heading the wrong way. Is that inner string dynamically generated? If so, you can give the tag a class or -- better yet -- ID when the text goes in there. If it's static, then it's even easier.

0 votes
answered Sep 27, 2014 by david-thomas

While it's been quite some time, and you've already (long-since) accepted an answer, I thought I'd offer an updated approach:

function findByTextContent(needle, haystack, precise) {
  // needle: String, the string to be found within the elements.
  // haystack: String, a selector to be passed to document.querySelectorAll(),
  //           NodeList, Array - to be iterated over within the function:
  // precise: Boolean, true - searches for that precise string, surrounded by
  //                          word-breaks,
  //                   false - searches for the string occurring anywhere
  var elems;

  // no haystack we quit here, to avoid having to search
  // the entire document:
  if (!haystack) {
    return false;
  // if haystack is a string, we pass it to document.querySelectorAll(),
  // and turn the results into an Array:
  else if ('string' == typeof haystack) {
    elems = [], 0);
  // if haystack has a length property, we convert it to an Array
  // (if it's already an array, this is pointless, but not harmful):
  else if (haystack.length) {
    elems = [], 0);

  // work out whether we're looking at innerText (IE), or textContent 
  // (in most other browsers)
  var textProp = 'textContent' in document ? 'textContent' : 'innerText',
    // creating a regex depending on whether we want a precise match, or not:
    reg = precise === true ? new RegExp('\\b' + needle + '\\b') : new RegExp(needle),
    // iterating over the elems array:
    found = elems.filter(function(el) {
      // returning the elements in which the text is, or includes,
      // the needle to be found:
      return reg.test(el[textProp]);
  return found.length ? found : false;;

findByTextContent('link', document.querySelectorAll('li'), false).forEach(function(elem) { = '2em';

findByTextContent('link3', 'a').forEach(function(elem) { = '#f90';
  <li><a href="#">link1</a>
  <li><a href="#">link2</a>
  <li><a href="#">link3</a>
  <li><a href="#">link4</a>
  <li><a href="#">link5</a>
0 votes
answered Sep 26, 2015 by carlin-scott

You could use xpath to accomplish this

var xpath = "a[text()='SearchingText']";
var matchingElement = document.evaluate(xpath, document, null, XPathResult.FIRST_ORDERED_NODE_TYPE, null).singleNodeValue;

You can also search of an element containing some text using this xpath:

var xpath = "a[contains(text(),'Searching')]";
0 votes
answered Sep 28, 2015 by mouneer

You can use jQuery :contains() Selector

var element = $( "a:contains('SearchingText')" );
0 votes
answered Sep 15, 2017 by pawel

Functional approach. Returns array of all matched elements and trims spaces around while checking.

function getElementsByText(str, tag = 'a') {
  return => el.textContent.trim() === str.trim());


getElementsByText('Text here'); // second parameter is optional tag (default "a")

if you're looking through different tags i.e. span or button

getElementsByText('Text here', 'span');
getElementsByText('Text here', 'button');

The default value tag = 'a' will need Babel for old browsers

0 votes
answered Sep 15, 2017 by gradiuss

I found the use of the newer syntax a little bit shorter compared to the others answer. So here's my proposal:

const callback = element => element.innerHTML == 'My research'

const elements = Array.from(document.getElementsByTagName('a'))
// [a, a, a, ...]

const result = elements.filter(callback)

// [a]

Welcome to Q&A, where you can ask questions and receive answers from other members of the community.
Website Online Counter