How can I implement prepend and append with regular JavaScript?

How can I implement prepend and append with regular JavaScript without using jQuery?



Perhaps you're asking about the DOM methods appendChild and insertBefore.

parentNode.insertBefore(newChild, refChild)

Inserts the node newChild as a child of parentNode before the existing child node refChild. (Returns newChild.)

If refChild is null, newChild is added at the end of the list of children. Equivalently, and more readably, use parentNode.appendChild(newChild).


You didn't give us much to go on here, but I think you're just asking how to add content to the beginning or end of an element? If so here's how you can do it pretty easily:

//get the target div you want to append/prepend to
var someDiv = document.getElementById("targetDiv");

//append text
someDiv.innerHTML += "Add this text to the end";

//prepend text
someDiv.innerHTML = "Add this text to the beginning" + someDiv.innerHTML;

Pretty easy.


If you want to insert a raw HTML string no matter how complex, you can use: insertAdjacentHTML, with appropriate first argument:

'beforebegin' Before the element itself. 'afterbegin' Just inside the element, before its first child. 'beforeend' Just inside the element, after its last child. 'afterend' After the element itself.

Hint: you can always call Element.outerHTML to get the HTML string representing the element to be inserted.

An example of usage:



Caution: insertAdjacentHTML does not preserve listeners that where attached with .addEventLisntener.


I added this on my project and it seems to work:

HTMLElement.prototype.prependHtml = function (element) {
    const div = document.createElement('div');
    div.innerHTML = element;
    this.insertBefore(div, this.firstChild);

HTMLElement.prototype.appendHtml = function (element) {
    const div = document.createElement('div');
    div.innerHTML = element;
    while (div.children.length > 0) {


document.body.prependHtml(`<a href="#">Hello World</a>`);
document.body.appendHtml(`<a href="#">Hello World</a>`);

In order to simplify your life you can extend the HTMLElement object. It might not work for older browsers, but definitely makes your life easier:

HTMLElement = typeof(HTMLElement) != 'undefined' ? HTMLElement : Element;

HTMLElement.prototype.prepend = function(element) {
    if (this.firstChild) {
        return this.insertBefore(element, this.firstChild);
    } else {
        return this.appendChild(element);

So next time you can do this:

// or
var element = document.getElementById('anotherElement');

In 2017 I know for Edge 15 and IE 12, the prepend method isn't included as a property for Div elements, but if anyone needs a quick reference to polyfill a function I made this:

 HTMLDivElement.prototype.prepend = (node, ele)=>{ 
               try { node.insertBefore(ele ,node.children[0]);} 
                     catch (e){ throw new Error(e.toString()) } }

Simple arrow function that's compatible with most modern browsers.

var insertedElement = parentElement.insertBefore(newElement, referenceElement);

If referenceElement is null, or undefined, newElement is inserted at the end of the list of child nodes.

insertedElement The node being inserted, that is newElement
parentElement The parent of the newly inserted node.
newElement The node to insert.
referenceElement The node before which newElement is inserted.

Examples can be found here: Node.insertBefore


You can also use unshift() to prepend to a list if you're using Node.js


This is not best way to do it but if anyone wants to insert an element before everything, here is a way.

var newElement = document.createElement("div");
var element = document.getElementById("targetelement");
element.innerHTML = '<div style="display:none !important;"></div>' + element.innerHTML;
var referanceElement = element.children[0];

Here's a snippet to get you going:

theParent = document.getElementById("theParent");
theKid = document.createElement("div");
theKid.innerHTML = 'Are we there yet?';

// append theKid to the end of theParent

// prepend theKid to the beginning of theParent
theParent.insertBefore(theKid, theParent.firstChild);

theParent.firstChild will give us a reference to the first element within theParent and put theKid before it.


Here's an example of using prepend to add a paragraph to the document.

var element = document.createElement("p");
var text = document.createTextNode("Example text");


<p>Example text</p>


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