Returns an array of all tabbable DOM nodes within a containing node.
Last updated 7 days ago by stefcameron .
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Small utility that returns an array of all* tabbable DOM nodes within a containing node.

*all has some necessary caveats, which you'll learn about by reading below.

The following are considered tabbable:

  • <button> elements
  • <input> elements
  • <select> elements
  • <textarea> elements
  • <a> elements with href or xlink:href attributes
  • <audio> and <videos> elements with controls attributes
  • <summary> element directly under a <details> element
  • elements with the [contenteditable] attribute
  • anything with a non-negative tabindex attribute

Any of the above will not be considered tabbable, though, if any of the following are also true about it:

  • has a negative tabindex attribute
  • has a disabled attribute
  • either the node itself or an ancestor of it is hidden via display: none or visibility: hidden
  • is an <input type="radio"> element and a different radio in its group is checked

If you think a node should be included in your array of tabbables but it's not, all you need to do is add tabindex="0" to deliberately include it. (Or if it is in your array but you don't want it, you can add tabindex="-1" to deliberately exclude it.) This will also result in more consistent cross-browser behavior. For information about why your special node might not be included, see "More details", below.


  • Accurate (or, as accurate as possible & reasonable)
  • No dependencies
  • Small
  • Fast

Browser Support

Basically IE9+.

Why? It uses Element.querySelectorAll() and Window.getComputedStyle().


npm install tabbable

Dependencies: none.



import { tabbable } from 'tabbable';

tabbable(rootNode, [options]);

Returns an array of ordered tabbable nodes (i.e. in tab order) within the rootNode.

Summary of ordering principles:

  • First include any nodes with positive tabindex attributes (1 or higher), ordered by ascending tabindex and source order.
  • Then include any nodes with a zero tabindex and any element that by default receives focus (listed above) and does not have a positive tabindex set, in source order.


Type: Node. Required.



Type: boolean. Default: false.

If set to true, rootNode will be included in the returned tabbable node array, if rootNode is tabbable.


import { isTabbable } from 'tabbable';


Returns a boolean indicating whether the provided node is considered tabbable.


import { isFocusable } from 'tabbable';


Returns a boolean indicating whether the provided node is considered focusable.

All tabbable elements are focusable, but not all focusable elements are tabbable. For example, elements with tabindex="-1" are focusable but not tabbable.


import { focusable } from 'tabbable';

focusable(rootNode, [options]);

Returns an array of focusable nodes within the rootNode, in DOM order. This will not match the order in which tabbable() returns nodes.


Type: Node. Required.



Type: boolean. Default: false.

If set to true, rootNode will be included in the returned focusable node array, if rootNode is focusable.

More details

  • Tabbable tries to identify elements that are reliably tabbable across (not dead) browsers. Browsers are inconsistent in their behavior, though — especially for edge-case elements like <object> and <iframe> — so this means some elements that you can tab to in some browsers will be left out of the results. (To learn more about this inconsistency, see this amazing table). To provide better consistency across browsers and ensure the elements you want in your tabbables list show up there, try adding tabindex="0" to edge-case elements that Tabbable ignores.
  • (Exemplifying the above ^^:) The tabbability of <iframe>s, <embed>s, <object>s, <summary>s, and <svg>s is inconsistent across browsers, so if you need an accurate read on one of these elements you should try giving it a tabindex. (You'll also need to pay attention to the focusable attribute on SVGs in IE & Edge.) But you also might not be able to get an accurate read — so you should avoid relying on it.
  • Radio groups have some edge cases, which you can avoid by always having a checked one in each group (and that is what you should usually do anyway). If there is no checked radio in the radio group, all of the radios will be considered tabbable. (Some browsers do this, otherwise don't — there's not consistency.)
  • If you're thinking, "Why not just use the right querySelectorAll?", you may be on to something ... but, as with most "just" statements, you're probably not. For example, a simple querySelectorAll approach will not figure out whether an element is hidden, and therefore not actually tabbable. (That said, if you do think Tabbable can be simplified or otherwise improved, I'd love to hear your idea.)
  • jQuery UI's :tabbable selector ignores elements with height and width of 0. I'm not sure why — because I've found that I can still tab to those elements. So I kept them in. Only elements hidden with display: none or visibility: hidden are left out.
  • Although Tabbable tries to deal with positive tabindexes, you should not use positive tabindexes. Accessibility experts seem to be in (rare) unanimous and clear consent about this: rely on the order of elements in the document.
  • Safari on Mac OS X does not Tab to <a> elements by default: you have to change a setting to get the standard behavior. Tabbable does not know whether you've changed that setting or not, so it will include <a> elements in its list.

Feedback and contributions more than welcome!


  1. Clone the repo to your machine and run:
npm install

To test in the browser during development, run:

npm start

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