Imagine I have the following HTML:
<div><span><b>This is in bold</b></span></div>
Expanding on jldupont's answer, you could create a wrapping element on the fly:
var target = document.getElementById('myElement'); var wrap = document.createElement('div'); wrap.appendChild(target.cloneNode(true)); alert(wrap.innerHTML);
I am cloning the element to avoid having to remove and reinsert the element in the actual document. This might be expensive if the element you wish to print has a very large tree below it, though.