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Selectors

Selectors are strings that are used to create Locators. Locators are used to perform actions on the elements by means of methods such as Locator.ClickAsync(options), Locator.FillAsync(value, options) and alike. For debugging selectors, see here.

Writing good selectors is part art, part science so be sure to checkout the Best Practices section.

Quick guide

  • Text selector

    await page.Locator("text=Log in").ClickAsync();

    Learn more about text selector.

  • CSS selector

    await page.Locator("button").ClickAsync();
    await page.Locator("#nav-bar .contact-us-item").ClickAsync();

    Learn more about css selector.

  • Select by attribute, with css selector

    await page.Locator("[data-test=login-button]").ClickAsync();
    await page.Locator("[aria-label='Sign in']").ClickAsync();

    Learn more about css selector.

  • Combine css and text selectors

    await page.Locator("article:has-text(\"Playwright\")").ClickAsync();
    await page.Locator("#nav-bar :text(\"Contact us\")").ClickAsync();

    Learn more about :has-text() and :text() pseudo classes.

  • Element that contains another, with css selector

    await page.Locator(".item-description:has(.item-promo-banner)").ClickAsync();

    Learn more about :has() pseudo class.

  • Selecting based on layout, with css selector

    await page.Locator("input:right-of(:text(\"Username\"))").ClickAsync();

    Learn more about layout selectors.

  • Only visible elements, with css selector

    await page.Locator(".login-button:visible").ClickAsync();

    Learn more about selecting visible elements.

  • Pick n-th match

    await page.Locator(":nth-match(:text('Buy'), 3)").ClickAsync();

    Learn more about :nth-match() pseudo-class.

  • XPath selector

    await page.Locator("xpath=//button").ClickAsync();

    Learn more about XPath selector.

  • React selector (experimental)

    await page.Locator("_react=ListItem[text *= 'milk' i]").ClickAsync();

    Learn more about React selectors.

  • Vue selector (experimental)

    await page.Locator("_vue=list-item[text *= 'milk' i]").ClickAsync();

    Learn more about Vue selectors.

Text selector

Text selector locates elements that contain passed text.

await page.Locator("text=Log in").ClickAsync();

Text selector has a few variations:

  • text=Log in - default matching is case-insensitive, trims whitespace and searches for a substring. For example, text=Log matches <button>Log in</button>.

    await page.Locator("text=Log in").ClickAsync();
  • text="Log in" - text body can be escaped with single or double quotes to search for a text node with exact content after trimming whitespace. For example, text="Log" does not match <button>Log in</button> because <button> contains a single text node "Log in" that is not equal to "Log". However, text="Log" matches <button> Log <span>in</span></button>, because <button> contains a text node " Log ". This exact mode implies case-sensitive matching, so text="Download" will not match <button>download</button>.

    Quoted body follows the usual escaping rules, e.g. use \" to escape double quote in a double-quoted string: text="foo\"bar".

    await page.Locator("text='Log in'").ClickAsync();
  • "Log in" - selector starting and ending with a quote (either " or ') is assumed to be a text selector. For example, "Log in" is converted to text="Log in" internally.

    await page.Locator("'Log in'").ClickAsync();
  • /Log\s*in/i - body can be a JavaScript-like regex wrapped in / symbols. For example, text=/Log\s*in/i matches <button>Login</button> and <button>log IN</button>.

    await page.Locator("text=/Log\\s*in/i").ClickAsync();
  • article:has-text("Playwright") - the :has-text() pseudo-class can be used inside a css selector. It matches any element containing specified text somewhere inside, possibly in a child or a descendant element. Matching is case-insensitive, trims whitestapce and searches for a substring. For example, article:has-text("Playwright") matches <article><div>Playwright</div></article>.

    Note that :has-text() should be used together with other css specifiers, otherwise it will match all the elements containing specified text, including the <body>.

    // Wrong, will match many elements including <body>
    await page.Locator(":has-text(\"Playwright\")").ClickAsync();
    // Correct, only matches the <article> element
    await page.Locator("article:has-text(\"Playwright\")").ClickAsync();
  • #nav-bar :text("Home") - the :text() pseudo-class can be used inside a css selector. It matches the smallest element containing specified text. This example is equivalent to text=Home, but inside the #nav-bar element.

    await page.Locator("#nav-bar :text('Home')").ClickAsync();
  • #nav-bar :text-is("Home") - the :text-is() pseudo-class can be used inside a css selector, for strict text node match. This example is equivalent to text="Home" (note quotes), but inside the #nav-bar element.

  • #nav-bar :text-matches("reg?ex", "i") - the :text-matches() pseudo-class can be used inside a css selector, for regex-based match. This example is equivalent to text=/reg?ex/i, but inside the #nav-bar element.
note

Matching always normalizes whitespace. For example, it turns multiple spaces into one, turns line breaks into spaces and ignores leading and trailing whitespace.

note

Input elements of the type button and submit are matched by their value instead of text content. For example, text=Log in matches <input type=button value="Log in">.

CSS selector

Playwright augments standard CSS selectors in two ways:

  • css engine pierces open shadow DOM by default.
  • Playwright adds custom pseudo-classes like :visible, :text and more.
await page.Locator("button").ClickAsync();

Selecting visible elements

There are two ways of selecting only visible elements with Playwright:

  • :visible pseudo-class in CSS selectors
  • visible= selector engine

If you prefer your selectors to be CSS and don't want to rely on chaining selectors, use :visible pseudo class like so: input:visible. If you prefer combining selector engines, use input >> visible=true. The latter allows you to combine text=, xpath= and other selector engines with the visibility filter.

For example, input matches all the inputs on the page, while input:visible and input >> visible=true only match visible inputs. This is useful to distinguish elements that are very similar but differ in visibility.

note

It's usually better to follow the best practices and find a more reliable way to uniquely identify the element.

Consider a page with two buttons, first invisible and second visible.

<button style='display: none'>Invisible</button>
<button>Visible</button>
  • This will find the first button because it is the first element in DOM order. Then it will wait for the button to become visible before clicking, or timeout while waiting:

    await page.Locator("button").ClickAsync();
  • These will find a second button, because it is visible, and then click it.

    await page.Locator("button:visible").ClickAsync();
    await page.Locator("button >> visible=true").ClickAsync();

Selecting elements that contain other elements

Filter by text

Locators support an option to only select elements that have some text somewhere inside, possibly in a descendant element. Matching is case-insensitive and searches for a substring.

await page.Locator("button", new() { HasText = "Click me" }).ClickAsync();

You can also pass a regular expression.

Filter by another locator

Locators support an option to only select elements that have a descendant matching another locator.

page.Locator("article", new() { Has = page.Locator("button.subscribe") })

Note that inner locator is matched starting from the outer one, not from the document root.

Inside CSS selector

The :has() pseudo-class is an experimental CSS pseudo-class. It returns an element if any of the selectors passed as parameters relative to the :scope of the given element match at least one element.

Following snippet returns text content of an <article> element that has a <div class=promo> inside.

await page.Locator("article:has(div.promo)").TextContentAsync();

Augmenting existing locators

You can add filtering to any locator by passing :scope selector to Locator.Locator(selector, options) and specifying desired options. For example, given the locator row that selects some rows in the table, you can filter to just those that contain text "Hello".

var locator = page.Locator(".row");
// ... later on ...
await locator.Locator(":scope", new() { HasText = "Hello" }).ClickAsync();

Selecting elements matching one of the conditions

CSS selector list

Comma-separated list of CSS selectors will match all elements that can be selected by one of the selectors in that list.

// Clicks a <button> that has either a "Log in" or "Sign in" text.
await page.Locator("button:has-text(\"Log in\"), button:has-text(\"Sign in\")").ClickAsync();

The :is() pseudo-class is an experimental CSS pseudo-class that may be useful for specifying a list of extra conditions on an element.

XPath union

Pipe operator (|) can be used to specify multiple selectors in XPath. It will match all elements that can be selected by one of the selectors in that list.

// Waits for either confirmation dialog or load spinner.
await page.Locator("//span[contains(@class, 'spinner__loading')]|//div[@id='confirmation']").WaitFor();

Selecting elements in Shadow DOM

Our css and text engines pierce the Shadow DOM by default:

  • First they search for the elements in the light DOM in the iteration order, and
  • Then they search recursively inside open shadow roots in the iteration order.

In particular, in css engine, any Descendant combinator or Child combinator pierces an arbitrary number of open shadow roots, including the implicit descendant combinator at the start of the selector. It does not search inside closed shadow roots or iframes.

If you'd like to opt out of this behavior, you can use :light CSS extension or text:light selector engine. They do not pierce shadow roots.

await page.Locator(":light(.article > .header)").ClickAsync();

More advanced Shadow DOM use cases:

<article>
<div>In the light dom</div>
<div slot='myslot'>In the light dom, but goes into the shadow slot</div>
#shadow-root
<div class='in-the-shadow'>
<span class='content'>
In the shadow dom
#shadow-root
<li id='target'>Deep in the shadow</li>
</span>
</div>
<slot name='myslot'></slot>
</article>
  • Both "article div" and ":light(article div)" match the first <div>In the light dom</div>.
  • Both "article > div" and ":light(article > div)" match two div elements that are direct children of the article.
  • "article .in-the-shadow" matches the <div class='in-the-shadow'>, piercing the shadow root, while ":light(article .in-the-shadow)" does not match anything.
  • ":light(article div > span)" does not match anything, because both light-dom div elements do not contain a span.
  • "article div > span" matches the <span class='content'>, piercing the shadow root.
  • "article > .in-the-shadow" does not match anything, because <div class='in-the-shadow'> is not a direct child of article
  • ":light(article > .in-the-shadow)" does not match anything.
  • "article li#target" matches the <li id='target'>Deep in the shadow</li>, piercing two shadow roots.

Selecting elements based on layout

Sometimes, it is hard to come up with a good selector to the target element when it lacks distinctive features. In this case, using Playwright layout selectors could help. These can be combined with regular CSS to pinpoint one of the multiple choices.

For example, input:right-of(:text("Password")) matches an input field that is to the right of text "Password" - useful when the page has multiple inputs that are hard to distinguish between each other.

Note that layout selector is useful in addition to something else, like input. If you use layout selector alone, like :right-of(:text("Password")), most likely you'll get not the input you are looking for, but some empty element in between the text and the target input.

note

Layout selectors depend on the page layout and may produce unexpected results. For example, a different element could be matched when layout changes by one pixel.

Layout selectors use bounding client rect to compute distance and relative position of the elements.

  • :right-of(inner > selector) - Matches elements that are to the right of any element matching the inner selector, at any vertical position.
  • :left-of(inner > selector) - Matches elements that are to the left of any element matching the inner selector, at any vertical position.
  • :above(inner > selector) - Matches elements that are above any of the elements matching the inner selector, at any horizontal position.
  • :below(inner > selector) - Matches elements that are below any of the elements matching the inner selector, at any horizontal position.
  • :near(inner > selector) - Matches elements that are near (within 50 CSS pixels) any of the elements matching the inner selector.

Note that resulting matches are sorted by their distance to the anchor element, so you can use Locator.First to pick the closest one. This is only useful if you have something like a list of similar elements, where the closest is obviously the right one. However, using Locator.First in other cases most likely won't work as expected - it will not target the element you are searching for, but some other element that happens to be the closest like a random empty <div>, or an element that is scrolled out and is not currently visible.

// Fill an input to the right of "Username".
await page.Locator("input:right-of(:text(\"Username\"))").FillAsync("value");

// Click a button near the promo card.
await page.Locator("button:near(.promo-card)").ClickAsync();

// Click the radio input in the list closest to the "Label 3".
await page.Locator("[type=radio]:left-of(:text(\"Label 3\"))").First.ClickAsync();

All layout selectors support optional maximum pixel distance as the last argument. For example button:near(:text("Username"), 120) matches a button that is at most 120 pixels away from the element with the text "Username".

Selecting elements by label text

Targeted input actions in Playwright automatically distinguish between labels and controls, so you can target the label to perform an action on the associated control.

For example, consider the following DOM structure: <label for="password">Password:</label><input id="password" type="password">. You can target the label with something like text=Password and perform the following actions on the input instead:

  • click will click the label and automatically focus the input field;
  • fill will fill the input field;
  • inputValue will return the value of the input field;
  • selectText will select text in the input field;
  • setInputFiles will set files for the input field with type=file;
  • selectOption will select an option from the select box.
// Fill the input by targeting the label.
await page.Locator("text=Password").FillAsync("secret");

However, other methods will target the label itself, for example textContent will return the text content of the label, not the input field.

XPath selectors

XPath selectors are equivalent to calling Document.evaluate. Example: xpath=//html/body.

Selector starting with // or .. is assumed to be an xpath selector. For example, Playwright converts '//html/body' to 'xpath=//html/body'.

note

xpath does not pierce shadow roots

N-th element selector

You can narrow down query to the n-th match using the nth= selector. Unlike CSS's nth-match, provided index is 0-based.

// Click first button
await page.Locator("button >> nth=0").ClickAsync();

// Click last button
await page.Locator("button >> nth=-1").ClickAsync();

React selectors

note

React selectors are experimental and prefixed with _. The functionality might change in future.

React selectors allow selecting elements by their component name and property values. The syntax is very similar to attribute selectors and supports all attribute selector operators.

In react selectors, component names are transcribed with CamelCase.

Selector examples:

  • match by component: _react=BookItem
  • match by component and exact property value, case-sensitive: _react=BookItem[author = "Steven King"]
  • match by property value only, case-insensitive: _react=[author = "steven king" i]
  • match by component and truthy property value: _react=MyButton[enabled]
  • match by component and boolean value: _react=MyButton[enabled = false]
  • match by property value substring: _react=[author *= "King"]
  • match by component and multiple properties: _react=BookItem[author *= "king" i][year = 1990]
  • match by nested property value: _react=[some.nested.value = 12]
  • match by component and property value prefix: _react=BookItem[author ^= "Steven"]
  • match by component and property value suffix: _react=BookItem[author $= "Steven"]
  • match by component and key: _react=BookItem[key = '2']
  • match by property value regex: _react=[author = /Steven(\\s+King)?/i]

To find React element names in a tree use React DevTools.

note

React selectors support React 15 and above.

note

React selectors, as well as React DevTools, only work against unminified application builds.

Vue selectors

note

Vue selectors are experimental and prefixed with _. The functionality might change in future.

Vue selectors allow selecting elements by their component name and property values. The syntax is very similar to attribute selectors and supports all attribute selector operators.

In Vue selectors, component names are transcribed with kebab-case.

Selector examples:

  • match by component: _vue=book-item
  • match by component and exact property value, case-sensitive: _vue=book-item[author = "Steven King"]
  • match by property value only, case-insensitive: _vue=[author = "steven king" i]
  • match by component and truthy property value: _vue=my-button[enabled]
  • match by component and boolean value: _vue=my-button[enabled = false]
  • match by property value substring: _vue=[author *= "King"]
  • match by component and multiple properties: _vue=book-item[author *= "king" i][year = 1990]
  • match by nested property value: _vue=[some.nested.value = 12]
  • match by component and property value prefix: _vue=book-item[author ^= "Steven"]
  • match by component and property value suffix: _vue=book-item[author $= "Steven"]
  • match by property value regex: _vue=[author = /Steven(\\s+King)?/i]

To find Vue element names in a tree use Vue DevTools.

note

Vue selectors support Vue2 and above.

note

Vue selectors, as well as Vue DevTools, only work against unminified application builds.

Role selector

Role selector allows selecting elements by their ARIA role, ARIA attributes and accessible name. Note that role selector does not replace accessibility audits and conformance tests, but rather gives early feedback about the ARIA guidelines.

The syntax is very similar to CSS attribute selectors. For example, role=button[name="Click me"][pressed] selects a pressed button that has accessible name "Click me".

Note that many html elements have an implicitly defined role that is recognized by the role selector. You can find all the supported roles here. ARIA guidelines do not recommend duplicating implicit roles and attributes by setting role and/or aria-* attributes to default values.

Attributes supported by the role selector:

  • checked - an attribute that is usually set by aria-checked or native <input type=checkbox> controls. Available values for checked are true, false and "mixed". Examples:

    • role=checkbox[checked=true], equivalent to role=checkbox[checked]
    • role=checkbox[checked=false]
    • role=checkbox[checked="mixed"]

    Learn more about aria-checked.

  • disabled - a boolean attribute that is usually set by aria-disabled or disabled. Examples:

    • role=button[disabled=true], equivalent to role=button[disabled]
    • role=button[disabled=false]

    Note that unlike most other attributes, disabled is inherited through the DOM hierarchy. Learn more about aria-disabled.

  • expanded - a boolean attribute that is usually set by aria-expanded. Examples:

    • role=button[expanded=true], equivalent to role=button[expanded]
    • role=button[expanded=false]

    Learn more about aria-expanded.

  • include-hidden - a boolean attribute that controls whether hidden elements are matched. By default, only non-hidden elements, as defined by ARIA, are matched by role selector. With [include-hidden], both hidden and non-hidden elements are matched. Examples:

    • role=button[include-hidden=true], equivalent to role=button[include-hidden]
    • role=button[include-hidden=false]

    Learn more about aria-hidden.

  • level - a number attribute that is usually present for roles heading, listitem, row, treeitem, with default values for <h1>-<h6> elements. Examples:

    • role=heading[level=1]

    Learn more about aria-level.

  • name - a string attribute that matches accessible name. Supports attribute operators like = and *=, and regular expressions.

    • role=button[name="Click me"]
    • role=button[name*="Click"]
    • role=button[name=/Click( me)?/]

    Learn more about accessible name.

  • pressed - an attribute that is usually set by aria-pressed. Available values for pressed are true, false and "mixed". Examples:

    • role=button[pressed=true], equivalent to role=button[pressed]
    • role=button[pressed=false]
    • role=button[pressed="mixed"]

    Learn more about aria-pressed.

  • selected - a boolean attribute that is usually set by aria-selected. Examples:

    • role=option[selected=true], equivalent to role=option[selected]
    • role=option[selected=false]

    Learn more about aria-selected.

Examples:

  • role=button matches all buttons;
  • role=button[name="Click me"] matches buttons with "Click me" accessible name;
  • role=checkbox[checked][include-hidden] matches checkboxes that are checked, including those that are currently hidden.

id, data-testid, data-test-id, data-test selectors

Playwright supports shorthand for selecting elements using certain attributes. Currently, only the following attributes are supported:

  • id
  • data-testid
  • data-test-id
  • data-test
// Fill an input with the id "username"
await page.Locator("id=username").FillAsync("value");

// Click an element with data-test-id "submit"
await page.Locator("data-test-id=submit").ClickAsync();
note

Attribute selectors are not CSS selectors, so anything CSS-specific like :enabled is not supported. For more features, use a proper css selector, e.g. css=[data-test="login"]:enabled.

note

Attribute selectors pierce shadow DOM. To opt-out from this behavior, use :light suffix after attribute, for example page.locator('data-test-id:light=submit').click()

Pick n-th match from the query result

Sometimes page contains a number of similar elements, and it is hard to select a particular one. For example:

<section> <button>Buy</button> </section>
<article><div> <button>Buy</button> </div></article>
<div><div> <button>Buy</button> </div></div>

In this case, :nth-match(:text("Buy"), 3) will select the third button from the snippet above. Note that index is one-based.

// Click the third "Buy" button
await page.Locator(":nth-match(:text('Buy'), 3)").ClickAsync();

:nth-match() is also useful to wait until a specified number of elements appear, using Locator.WaitForAsync(options).

// Wait until all three buttons are visible
await page.Locator(":nth-match(:text('Buy'), 3)").WaitForAsync();
note

Unlike :nth-child(), elements do not have to be siblings, they could be anywhere on the page. In the snippet above, all three buttons match :text("Buy") selector, and :nth-match() selects the third button.

note

It is usually possible to distinguish elements by some attribute or text content. In this case, prefer using text or css selectors over the :nth-match().

Parent selector

The parent could be selected with .., which is a short form for xpath=...

For example:

var parentLocator = elementLocator.Locator("..");

Chaining selectors

Selectors defined as engine=body or in short-form can be combined with the >> token, e.g. selector1 >> selector2 >> selectors3. When selectors are chained, the next one is queried relative to the previous one's result.

For example,

css=article >> css=.bar > .baz >> css=span[attr=value]

is equivalent to

document
.querySelector('article')
.querySelector('.bar > .baz')
.querySelector('span[attr=value]')

If a selector needs to include >> in the body, it should be escaped inside a string to not be confused with chaining separator, e.g. text="some >> text".

Intermediate matches

By default, chained selectors resolve to an element queried by the last selector. A selector can be prefixed with * to capture elements that are queried by an intermediate selector.

For example, css=article >> text=Hello captures the element with the text Hello, and *css=article >> text=Hello (note the *) captures the article element that contains some element with the text Hello.

Best practices

The choice of selectors determines the resiliency of automation scripts. To reduce the maintenance burden, we recommend prioritizing user-facing attributes and explicit contracts.

Prioritize user-facing attributes

Attributes like text content, input placeholder, accessibility roles and labels are user-facing attributes that change rarely. These attributes are not impacted by DOM structure changes.

The following examples use the built-in text and css selector engines.

// queries "Login" text selector
await page.Locator("text=\"Login\"").ClickAsync();
await page.Locator("\"Login\"").ClickAsync(); // short-form

// queries "Search GitHub" placeholder attribute
await page.Locator("css=[placeholder='Search GitHub']").FillAsync("query");
await page.Locator("[placeholder='Search GitHub']").FillAsync("query"); // short-form

// queries "Close" accessibility label
await page.Locator("css=[aria-label='Close']").ClickAsync();
await page.Locator("[aria-label='Close']").ClickAsync(); // short-form

// combine role and text queries
await page.Locator("css=nav >> text=Login").ClickAsync();

Define explicit contract

When user-facing attributes change frequently, it is recommended to use explicit test ids, like data-test-id. These data-* attributes are supported by the css and id selectors.

<button data-test-id="directions">Itinéraire</button>
// queries data-test-id attribute with css
await page.Locator("css=[data-test-id=directions]").ClickAsync();
await page.Locator("[data-test-id=directions]").ClickAsync(); // short-form

// queries data-test-id with id
await page.Locator("data-test-id=directions").ClickAsync();

Avoid selectors tied to implementation

xpath and css can be tied to the DOM structure or implementation. These selectors can break when the DOM structure changes. Similarly, Locator.Nth(index), Locator.First, and Locator.Last are tied to implementation and the structure of the DOM, and will target the incorrect element if the DOM changes.

// avoid long css or xpath chains
await page.Locator("#tsf > div:nth-child(2) > div.A8SBwf > div.RNNXgb > div > div.a4bIc > input").ClickAsync();
await page.Locator("//*[@id='tsf']/div[2]/div[1]/div[1]/div/div[2]/input").ClickAsync();