Home Can an html element have multiple ids?
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Can an html element have multiple ids?

webmat Published in 2008-10-10 16:04:16Z

I understand that an id must be unique within an HTML/XHTML page.

My question is, for a given element, can I assign multiple ids to it?

<div id="nested_element_123 task_123"></div>

I realize I have an easy solution with simply using a class. I'm just curious about using ids in this manner.

ThinkingStiff Reply to 2012-02-09 04:13:54Z

No. From the XHTML 1.0 Spec

In XML, fragment identifiers are of type ID, and there can only be a single attribute of type ID per element. Therefore, in XHTML 1.0 the id attribute is defined to be of type ID. In order to ensure that XHTML 1.0 documents are well-structured XML documents, XHTML 1.0 documents MUST use the id attribute when defining fragment identifiers on the elements listed above. See the HTML Compatibility Guidelines for information on ensuring such anchors are backward compatible when serving XHTML documents as media type text/html.

BoltClock Reply to 2012-06-18 06:28:03Z

Contrary to what everyone else said, the correct answer is YES

The Selectors spec is very clear about this:

If an element has multiple ID attributes, all of them must be treated as IDs for that element for the purposes of the ID selector.Such a situation could be reached using mixtures of xml:id, DOM3 Core, XML DTDs, and namespace-specific knowledge.


Just to clarify: Yes, an XHTML element can have multiple ids, e.g.

<p id="foo" xml:id="bar">

but assigning multiple ids to the same id attribute using a space-separated list is not possible.

Sean Tank Garvey
Sean Tank Garvey Reply to 2017-08-30 17:20:28Z

My understanding has always been:

  • ID's are single use and are only applied to one element...

    • Each is attributed as a Unique Identifier to (only) one single element.
  • Classes can be used more than once...

    • They can therefore be applied to more than one element, and similarly yet different, there can be more than one class (i.e. multiple classes) per element.
abatishchev Reply to 2014-06-02 19:31:39Z

No. While the definition from w3c for HTML 4 doesn't seem to explicitly cover your question, the definition of the name and id attribute says no spaces in the identifier:

ID and NAME tokens must begin with a letter ([A-Za-z]) and may be followed by any number of letters, digits ([0-9]), hyphens ("-"), underscores ("_"), colons (":"), and periods (".").

halfer Reply to 2014-06-02 19:30:07Z

You can only have one ID per element, but you can indeed have more than one class. But don't have multiple class attributes, put multiple class values into one attribute.

<div id="foo" class="bar baz bax">

is perfectly legal.

tvanfosson Reply to 2008-10-10 16:11:23Z

No. Every DOM element, if it has an id, has a single, unique id. You could approximate it using something like:

<div id='enclosing_id_123'><span id='enclosed_id_123'></span></div>

and then use navigation to get what you really want.

If you are just looking to apply styles, class names are better.

tpower Reply to 2008-10-10 16:08:52Z

No you cannot have multiple ids for a single tag, but I have seen a tag with a name attribute and an id attribute which are treated the same by some applications.

Anjisan Reply to 2008-10-10 16:30:44Z

No, you should use nested DIVs if you want to head down that path. Besides, even if you could, imagine the confusion it would cause when you run document.getElementByID(). What ID is it going to grab if there are multiple ones?

On a slightly related topic, you can add multiple classes to a DIV. See Eric Myers discussion at,


Alexandr Reply to 2013-08-13 13:41:41Z


The id attribute assigns a unique identifier to an element (which may be verified by an SGML parser).


ID and NAME tokens must begin with a letter ([A-Za-z]) and may be followed by any number of letters, digits ([0-9]), hyphens ("-"), underscores ("_"), colons (":"), and periods (".").

So "id" must be unique and can't contain a space.

Snowcrash Reply to 2015-04-25 17:54:01Z


Having said that, there's nothing to stop you doing it. But you'll get inconsistent behaviour with the various browsers. Don't do it. 1 ID per element.

If you want multiple assignations to an element use classes (separated by a space).

Robert K
Robert K Reply to 2008-10-10 16:06:59Z

That's interesting, but as far as I know the answer is a firm no. I don't see why you need a nested ID, since you'll usually cross it with another element that has the same nested ID. If you don't there's no point, if you do there's still very little point.

Taylor Reply to 2010-04-20 11:40:02Z

I know this is a year old but I was curious about this myself and I'm sure others will find their way here. The simple answer is no, as others have said before me. An element can't have more than one ID and an ID can't be used more than once in a page. Try it out and you'll see how well it doesn't work.

In reponse to tvanfosson's answer regarding the use of the same ID in two different elements. As far as I'm aware an ID can only be used once in a page regardless of whether it's attached to a different tag.

By definition, an element needing an ID should be unique but if you need two ID's then it's not really unique and needs a class instead.

James Reply to 2012-04-18 18:21:17Z

I'd like to say technically yes, since really what gets rendered is technically always browser dependent. Most browsers try to keep to the specifications as best they can and as far as I know there is nothing in the css specifications against it. I'm only going to vouch for the actual html,css,javascript code that gets sent to the browser before any other interpretter steps in.

However I also say no since every browser I typically test on doesn't actually let you. If you need to see for yourself save the following as a .html file and open it up in the major browsers. In all browsers I tested on the javascript function will not match to an element. However, remove either "hunkojunk" from the id tag and all works fine. Sample Code

    <p id="hunkojunk1 hunkojunk2"></p>

<script type="text/javascript">
    document.getElementById('hunkojunk2').innerHTML = "JUNK JUNK JUNK JUNK JUNK JUNK";
corysimmons Reply to 2014-03-01 16:11:58Z

classes are specially made for this, here is the code from which you can understand

    <style type="text/css">
            width: 100px;   

            border: 2px solid #ccc;


    <div class="personal fam x"></div>

Ole Reidar Johansen
Ole Reidar Johansen Reply to 2010-09-13 10:53:52Z

I don´t think you can have two Id´s but it should be possible. Using the same id twice is a different case... like two people using the same passport. However one person could have multiple passports... Came looking for this since I have a situation where a single employee can have several functions. Say "sysadm" and "team coordinator" having the id="sysadm teamcoordinator" would let me reference them from other pages so that employees.html#sysadm and employees.html#teamcoordinator would lead to the same place... One day somebody else might take over the team coordinator function while the sysadm remains the sysadm... then I only have to change the ids on the employees.html page ... but like I said - it doesn´t work :(

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