Parashar developer


Modify pseudo element styles with JavaScript

Quite often I run into situations where I need to modify the CSS styles of the pseudo elements dynamically. This post shows you different ways in which it can be done!

May 01, 2014

Here is the sample markup and styles to start with,


<p class="red">Hi, this is a plain-old, sad-looking paragraph tag.</p>


.red::before {
    content: 'red';
    color: red;


To modify the color of the pseudo element - .red::before from red to green.

Method 1:

Write separate classes attached with psuedo element for each style and then using JavaScript or jQuery toggle between these classes.

/* CSS */
.green::before {
  content: 'green';
  color: green;

// JS

Method 2:

Inject new styles to the existing document stylesheet directly either via JavaScript and the webpage will automatically reflect the new css.

document.styleSheets[0].addRule('.red::before','color: green');
document.styleSheets[0].insertRule('.red::before { color: green }', 0);

Method 3:

Create a new stylesheet and inject the modified rules to the newly created document stylesheet either via JavaScript or jQuery.

// Create a new style tag
var style = document.createElement("style");

// Append the style tag to head

// Grab the stylesheet object
sheet = style.sheet

// Use addRule or insertRule to inject styles
sheet.addRule('.red::before','color: green');
sheet.insertRule('.red::before { color: green }', 0);

// jQuery

Method 4:

At times you need the fetch the value of the property from the existing ruleset and then make the modifications based on some logic.

var str = window.getComputedStyle($('.red'), '::before').getPropertyValue('content');
document.styleSheets[0].addRule('.red::before','content: "' + str + str + '"');
document.styleSheets[0].insertRule('.red::before { content: "' + str + str + '" }', 0);

Method 5:

We can alter a different DOM attribute of the element by combining it with the content property, we can change the content (but not other properties, like margin or color) of pseudo elements dynamically.

<!-- HTML -->
<p class="red" data-attr="red">Hi, this is plain-old, sad-looking paragraph tag.</p>
// CSS
.red::before {
    content: attr(data-attr);
    color: red;

/* JS */
$('.red').attr('data-attr', 'green');

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