How to dynamically create CSS class in JavaScript and apply?

How to dynamically create CSS class in JavaScript and apply?

I need to create a CSS stylesheet class dynamically in JavaScript and assign it to some HTML elements like – div, table, span, tr, etc and to some controls like asp:Textbox, Dropdownlist and datalist.
Is it possible?
It would be nice with a sample.


Solution 1:

Although I’m not sure why you want to create CSS classes with JavaScript, here is an option:

var style = document.createElement('style');
style.type = 'text/css';
style.innerHTML = '.cssClass { color: #F00; }';

document.getElementById('someElementId').className = 'cssClass';

Solution 2:

Found a better solution, which works across all browsers.
Uses document.styleSheet to add or replace rules. Accepted answer is short and handy but this works across IE8 and less too.

function createCSSSelector (selector, style) {
  if (!document.styleSheets) return;
  if (document.getElementsByTagName('head').length == 0) return;

  var styleSheet,mediaType;

  if (document.styleSheets.length > 0) {
    for (var i = 0, l = document.styleSheets.length; i < l; i++) {
      if (document.styleSheets[i].disabled) 
      var media = document.styleSheets[i].media;
      mediaType = typeof media;

      if (mediaType === 'string') {
        if (media === '' || (media.indexOf('screen') !== -1)) {
          styleSheet = document.styleSheets[i];
      else if (mediaType=='object') {
        if (media.mediaText === '' || (media.mediaText.indexOf('screen') !== -1)) {
          styleSheet = document.styleSheets[i];

      if (typeof styleSheet !== 'undefined') 

  if (typeof styleSheet === 'undefined') {
    var styleSheetElement = document.createElement('style');
    styleSheetElement.type = 'text/css';

    for (i = 0; i < document.styleSheets.length; i++) {
      if (document.styleSheets[i].disabled) {
      styleSheet = document.styleSheets[i];

    mediaType = typeof;

  if (mediaType === 'string') {
    for (var i = 0, l = styleSheet.rules.length; i < l; i++) {
      if(styleSheet.rules[i].selectorText && styleSheet.rules[i].selectorText.toLowerCase()==selector.toLowerCase()) {
        styleSheet.rules[i].style.cssText = style;
  else if (mediaType === 'object') {
    var styleSheetLength = (styleSheet.cssRules) ? styleSheet.cssRules.length : 0;
    for (var i = 0; i < styleSheetLength; i++) {
      if (styleSheet.cssRules[i].selectorText && styleSheet.cssRules[i].selectorText.toLowerCase() == selector.toLowerCase()) {
        styleSheet.cssRules[i].style.cssText = style;
    styleSheet.insertRule(selector + '{' + style + '}', styleSheetLength);

Function is used as follows.

createCSSSelector('.mycssclass', 'display:none');

Note that even though function name is createClass it actually creates a selector. So dont forget to add .(period) before your class name.
No need to mention that you can create other selectors too with this function.

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Solution 3:

Short answer, this is compatible “on all browsers” (specifically, IE8/7):

function createClass(name,rules){
    var style = document.createElement('style');
    style.type = 'text/css';
        (style.styleSheet || style.sheet).addRule(name, rules);
createClass('.whatever',"background-color: green;");

And this final bit applies the class to an element:

function applyClass(name,element,doRemove){
    if(typeof element.valueOf() == "string"){
        element = document.getElementById(element);
    if(!element) return;
        element.className = element.className.replace(new RegExp("\\b" + name + "\\b","g"));
        element.className = element.className + " " + name;

Here’s a little test page as well:

The key little bit is the fact that style elements have a “styleSheet”/”sheet” property which you can use to to add/remove rules on.

Solution 4:

There is a light jQuery plugin which allows to generate CSS declarations: jQuery-injectCSS

In fact, it uses JSS (CSS described by JSON), but it’s quite easy to handle in order to generate dynamic css stylesheets.

    "#test": {
        height: 123

Solution 5:

YUI has by far the best stylesheet utility I have seen out there. I encourage you to check it out, but here’s a taste:

// style element or locally sourced link element
var sheet = YAHOO.util.StyleSheet(YAHOO.util.Selector.query('style',null,true));

sheet = YAHOO.util.StyleSheet(YAHOO.util.Dom.get('local'));

// OR the id of a style element or locally sourced link element
sheet = YAHOO.util.StyleSheet('local');

// OR string of css text
var css = ".moduleX .alert { background: #fcc; font-weight: bold; } " +
          ".moduleX .warn  { background: #eec; } " +
          ".hide_messages .moduleX .alert, " +
          ".hide_messages .moduleX .warn { display: none; }";

sheet = new YAHOO.util.StyleSheet(css);

There are obviously other much simpler ways of changing styles on the fly such as those suggested here. If they make sense for your problem, they might be best, but there are definitely reasons why modifying css is a better solution. The most obvious case is when you need to modify a large number of elements. The other major case is if you need your style changes to involve the cascade. Using the dom to modify an element will always have a higher priority. Its the sledgehammer approach and is equivalent to using the style attribute directly on the html element. That is not always the desired effect.

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Solution 6:

As of IE 9. You can now load a text file and set a style.innerHTML property. So essentially you can now load a css file through ajax (and get the callback) and then just set the text inside of a style tag like this.

This works in other browsers, not sure how far back. But as long as you don’t need to support IE8 then it would work.

// RESULT: doesn't work in IE8 and below. Works in IE9 and other browsers.
$(document).ready(function() {
    // we want to load the css as a text file and append it with a style.
        success: function(result) {
            var s = document.createElement('style');
            s.setAttribute('type', 'text/css');
            s.innerHTML = result;
        fail: function() {

and then you can have it pull an external file like the myCss.css

.myClass { background:#F00; }