Brian Brian - 4 months ago 12
jQuery Question

How to change an element's title attribute using jQuery

I have an form input element and want to change its title attribute. This has to be easy as pie, but for some reason I cannot find how to do this. How is this done, and where and how should I be searching on how to do this?

Answer

Before we write any code, let's discuss the difference between attributes and properties. Attributes are the settings you apply to elements in your HTML markup; the browser then parses the markup and creates DOM objects of various types that contain properties initialized with the values of the attributes. On DOM objects, such as a simple HTMLElement, you almost always want to be working with its properties, not its attributes collection.

The current best practice is to avoid working with attributes unless they are custom or there is no equivalent property to supplement it. Since title does indeed exist as a read/write property on many HTMLElements, we should take advantage of it.

You can read more about the difference between attributes and properties here or here.

With this in mind, let's manipulate that title...

Get or Set an element's title property without jQuery

Since title is a public property, you can set it on any DOM element that supports it with plain JavaScript:

document.getElementById('yourElementId').title = 'your new title';

Retrieval is almost identical; nothing special here:

var elementTitle = document.getElementById('yourElementId').title;

This will be the fastest way of changing the title if you're an optimization nut, but since you wanted jQuery involved:

Get or Set an element's title property with jQuery (v1.6+)

jQuery introduced a new method in v1.6 to get and set properties. To set the title property on an element, use:

$('#yourElementId').prop('title', 'your new title');

If you'd like to retrieve the title, omit the second parameter and capture the return value:

var elementTitle = $('#yourElementId').prop('title');

Check out the prop() API documentation for jQuery.

If you really don't want to use properties, or you're using a version of jQuery prior to v1.6, then you should read on:

Get or Set an element's title attribute with jQuery (versions <1.6)

You can change the title attribute with the following code:

$('#yourElementId').attr('title', 'your new title');

Or retrieve it with:

var elementTitle = $('#yourElementId').attr('title');

Check out the attr() API documentation for jQuery.