activeElement Property

Internet Development Index

Retrieves the object that has the focus when the parent document has focus.


[ oActive = ] document.activeElement

Possible Values

oActive Object that receives the element that has the focus.

The property is read-only. The property has no default value.


Set the active element with the setActive or focus methods. Using the setActive method has no effect on document focus. Using the focus method on an individual element causes the element to gain focus and become the active element.

The active element retains focus in the parent document even when focus is shifted from the parent to another application. If the focus returns to the parent document, focus also returns to the same active element.

Note  For versions of Microsoft® Internet Explorer 5 and later, the activeElement property is not defined until a document is loaded. A value of null is given for this property if accessed inline during the loading of a document. However, this property can be accessed from within the onload event handler function.
Note  Internet Explorer 4.0 returns body as the activeElement when accessed inline during the loading of a document.

Standards Information

There is no public standard that applies to this property.

Applies To