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How to clone a node or element with vanilla JS

The Node.cloneNode() method creates a copy of a node. You call on the node to clone.

For example, let’s say you had an #app element with some properties and nested content, like this.

<div id="app" class="background" data-app>
	<h1>Hello, world!</h1>
	<p>How are you today?</p>
	Nice to see you again.

You would get the #app element (in this example, using the document.querySelector() method), and call the Node.cloneNode() method on it.

By default, the Node.cloneNode() method creates a shallow copy. That is, it copies the element, but none of it’s child nodes.

// returns <div id="app" class="background" data-app>
let app = document.querySelector('#app');

// Create a shallow clone
// returns <div id="app" class="background" data-app></div> as an empty node
let clone = app.cloneNode();

Here’s a demo.

If you want all of a node’s child nodes to also be copied, pass in true as an argument.

// Create a deep clone
// returns <div id="app" class="background" data-app></div> with the h1, p, and text nodes
let deepClone = app.cloneNode(true);

Here’s another demo.