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10 Example of jQuery Selectors for Beginners

I am primarily a Java developer but I have done a lot of work with Java web applications including Servlet, JSP, and JavaScript on the client side. It was difficult for me to perform client-side validation using JavaScript but ever since I come to know about jQuery, I simply love to do more validation and other stuff on the client side. The jQuery gives you immense power to do things with HTML pages and half of that power comes from its CSS-like selector engine, which allows you to select any element or group of elements from the HTML page and then do things with them e.g. changes their style or behavior. For example, you can grab the divs and hide them, you can grab the buttons and make them clickable, and so on. 

In order to learn jQuery, you need to learn its selector engine and in this tutorial, I am going to share with you 10 good examples of different jQuery selectors like ID selector to select a single HTML element, the class selector to select a group of element and * wildcard to select all elements. Since jQuery supports many types of a selector, some of them I didn't even know, it's good to know as much as possible about them.

So here is the list of 10 jQuery selector I am going to share with you guys:
1) id selector
2) class selector
3) tag selector
4) descendant selector
5) child selector
6) pseudo-class selector
7) multiple selectors
8) not selector
9) all selector
10) has selector

Now, let's see some examples of each of these jQuery selectors and when to use which jQuery selector

10 jQuery Selectors Examples for Beginners

Here is a list of common jQuery selector examples. You will learn how to use several important jQuery selectors like Id selector, class selector, tag selector, descendent selector, and more. 

1. jQuery ID selector Example

Id selector is one of the most used jQuery selectors and used to select just one specific element from a page. For example, $("#main") will return the HTML element with id as main. just like CSS, you need to use # (hash) to select elements with their IDs. It's also the fastest selector and if you can use then always prefer the ID selector. They are also very popular in jQuery interviews and you will always see one more two questions from the ID selector.


// Select HTML element with id as main e.g. div id="main"
$("#main") will 

// Select HTML element with id as guess_box e.g. div id="guess_box"
$("#guess_box") will 

2. jQuery class selector Example

The class selector is another most common jQuery selector and used to select a group of elements from the HTML page. If you remember, the class is used to style elements in jQuery but it can also use to group related elements together in jQuery even if they don't have any style. Just like in CSS, a class selector is started with a . (dot) e.g. $(".active") will return all elements from page which has class="active".

Here is a couple of examples of jQuery class selector:

// select all elements with class as active e.g. all divs

// select all elements with class as clickable e.g. all clickable divs

If you remember the $() is a shortcut of the jQuery() method and if you use jQuery you may get the error like "Uncaught ReferenceError: $ is not defined" if the browser is not able to load the jQuery properly.

3. jQuery tag selector Example

The jQuery tag selector, also known as element selector selects all the specified element from the HTML page. For example, $("p") will select all paragraphs and $("div") will select all divs. Internally tag selector calls the getElementsByTagName() function to return the appropriate elements from DOM.

// select all span elements

4. jQuery descendant selector Example

The descendant selector selects all elements that are descendants of a given ancestor. The format of this selector is $(ancestor descendant) where an ancestor is any valid selector and descendant is a valid selector to filter descendant elements. 

For example, $( "form input" ) will return any input which are a descendant of the form element i.e. they are inside any form.  See these free jQuery courses to learn more about advanced selector in jQuery.

// select all span elements which are descendant of divs
$("div span")

5. jQuery child selector Example

The child selector is similar to the descendant selector but it only returns the direct child. It has format of $(parent > child) , for example $("div > span") will return all span which are direct child of div elements.

// select all <b> elements which are direct child of <p>
$("p > b")

6. jQuery pseudo-class selector Example

The :even,  :odd, :checked are examples of pseudo-selectors, they are not part of CSS specification but extension of jQuery to provide convenience e.g. you can use :even to select even elements (zero-indexed) e.g. even rows in the table to style them differently. Similarly, :odd can be used to select :odd elements in DOM tree and :checked can be used to find check elements e.g. checked radio buttons or checkboxes. See jQuery in Action to learn more how pseudo selector works in jQuery.

// change the background color of even rows
$( "tr:even" ).css( "background-color", "#bbf" );

// change the background color of odd rows
$( "tr:odd" ).css( "background-color", "#bb0" );

7. jQuery multiple selector Example

The multiple selectors are nothing but combining more than one selector in a single search like  $(selector1, selector2, selector3) is a multiple selectors which selects the combined results of all the specified selectors. For example, $( "div, span, p" ) will select all div, span, and p elements from the DOM. Remember, individual selectors, are separated by a comma.

//select all div and span
$( "div, span )

8. jQuery not selector Example

The :not() jQuery selector selects all elements except the specified element. This is mostly used together with another selector to select everything except the specified element in a group e.g. select all checkboxes which are unchecked or select the input types which are empty.  See these jQuery online courses to learn more about how to use not selector in JavaScript

// select all checkboxes which not checked

9. jQuery all selector Example

The all or universal selector is used to select all elements e.g. $(*) will select all elements from the HTML page. This is useful when you want to apply a style to all elements of the HTML page. Btw, just be careful The all, or universal, selector is extremely slow, except when used by itself.

// select all HTML elements

10. jQuery has selector Example

The :has() selector selects all elements that have one or more elements inside of them, that matches the specified selector. For example $("b:has(h1)") will select all <b> elements than have <h1> element inside of them.

// select all p which has span under it

That's all about 10 examples of jQuery selectors for web developers. I am sure you have learned a couple of new things today. Though most of them times you would find yourself using just class and id selector, knowing different types of selector will help you to use jQuery more effectively. Always remember to use the most specific selector to gain the best performance from jQuery. For example, using input[type=radio]:checked is more specific than just using :radio :checked.

Related jQuery tutorials you may like
  • How to get current URL, Parameters and Hash using jQuery? (solution)
  • How to use more than one jQuery UI DatePicker in JSP page? (example)
  • How to create tab-based UI using jQuery? (example)
  • How to redirect a page URL using jQuery and JavaScript? (solution)
  • How to write HelloWorld in jQuery? (solution)
  • 5 Books to learn jQuery for Web developers (books)
  • How to load jQuery in a web page? (solution)
  • Difference between jQuery document.ready() and JavaScript window.onload event? (answer)


  1. Why $(selector)? // JQUERY

    document.querySelectorAll(selector) // Native Javascript.

    There same.

  2. Because JS's window.onload() and jquery's $(document).ready(function(){}); or $(function(){}); are same. Jquery is a JS library made from Javascript,so it makes task easier .


Feel free to comment, ask questions if you have any doubt.