Helping you solve those tough coding problems!

Checking if an element exists with jQuery Checking if an element exists with jQuery

Published on Mar 19, 2019 by Jamie Munro

You want to do some conditional processing depending on if an item or items exist in your DOM (Document Object Model). By default, jQuery doesn't have a function that performs this; however, there is a very simple way to extend jQuery to do so.

Extending jQuery with an Exists function

Let's get right to the code:

// Extend jQuery with an "exists" function
jQuery.fn.exists = function() {
return this.length;

// Call the exists function
if ($("#myId").exists()) {
// Do something because it exists

Some people might consider it overkill to extend jQuery to perform such a simple statement, but sometimes readability is just as important. This same code could be altered as follows and would accomplish the same thing:

// Call the exists function
if ($("#myId").length) {
// Do something because it exists

To perform subsequent checks on other objects, it is basically the same amount of typing; however, by calling an exists function, my code is more readable without the need to add a comment because it's quite clear what is being done via a descriptive function name.

jQuery is extremely simple to extend and create custom functions that can then be applied to any jQuery selector in this case checking if an item exists!

Tags: jquery | extend | JavaScript | jQuery

My Books
ASP.NET MVC 5 With Bootstrap and Knockout.js
Knockout.js Building Dynamic Client-Side Applications
20 Recipes for Programming MVC 3
20 Recipes for Programming PhoneGap
Rapid Application Development with CakePHP