Selectors are strings that point to the elements in the page. They are used to perform actions on those elements by means of methods such as page.click(selector, **kwargs), page.fill(selector, value, **kwargs) and alike. All those methods accept
selector as their first argument.
- Basic text selectors
- Basic CSS selectors
- Selecting visible elements
- Selecting elements that contain other elements
- Selecting elements matching one of the conditions
- Selecting elements by text
- Selecting elements in Shadow DOM
- Selecting elements based on layout
- XPath selectors
- id, data-testid, data-test-id, data-test selectors
- Chaining selectors
- Best practices
Text selectors locate elements that contain text nodes with the passed text.
Matching is case-insensitive and searches for a substring. This means
<button>Button loGIN (click me)</button>. Matching also normalizes whitespace, for example it turns multiple spaces into one, turns line breaks into spaces and ignores leading and trailing whitespace.
Text body can be escaped with single or double quotes for full-string case-sensitive match instead. This means
text="Login" will match
<button>Login</button>, but not
<button>Login (click me)</button> or
<button>login</button>. Quoted text follows the usual escaping rules, e.g. use
\" to escape double quote in a double-quoted string:
text="foo\"bar". Note that quoted match still normalizes whitespace.
/ symbols. This means
text=/^\\s*Login$/i will match
<button> loGIN</button> with any number of spaces before "Login" and no spaces after.
Input elements of the type
submit are rendered with their value as text, and text engine finds them. For example,
<input type=button value="Login">.
Selector string starting and ending with a quote (either
') is assumed to be a text selector. For example, Playwright converts
Playwright augments standard CSS selectors in two ways:
cssengine pierces open shadow DOM by default.
- Playwright adds a few custom pseudo-classes like
:visible pseudo-class in CSS selectors matches the elements that are visible. For example,
input matches all the inputs on the page, while
input:visible matches only visible inputs. This is useful to distinguish elements that are very similar but differ in visibility.
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.
This will find the first button, because it is the first one in DOM order. Then it will wait for the button to become visible before clicking, or timeout while waiting:
This will find a second button, because it is visible, and then click it.
:visible with caution, because it has two major drawbacks:
- When elements change their visibility dynamically,
:visiblewill give unpredictable results based on the timing.
:visibleforces a layout and may lead to querying being slow, especially when used with
: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.
:is() pseudo-class is an experimental CSS pseudo-class. It is a function that takes a selector list as its argument, and selects any element that can be selected by one of the selectors in that list. This is useful for writing large selectors in a more compact form.
:text pseudo-class matches elements that have a text node child with specific text. It is similar to the text engine, but can be used in combination with other
css selector extensions. There are a few variations that support different arguments:
:text("substring")- Matches when element's text contains "substring" somewhere. Matching is case-insensitive. Matching also normalizes whitespace, for example it turns multiple spaces into one, turns line breaks into spaces and ignores leading and trailing whitespace.
:text-is("string")- Matches when element's text equals the "string". Matching is case-insensitive and normalizes whitespace.
button:text("Sign in")- Text selector may be combined with regular CSS.
:text-matches("[+-]?\\d+")- Matches text against a regular expression. Note that special characters like back-slash
", square brackets
and more should be escaped. Learn more about regular expressions.
:text-matches("value", "i")- Matches text against a regular expression with specified flags.
Click a button with text "Sign in":
text engines pierce the Shadow DOM by default:
- First it searches for the elements in the light DOM in the iteration order, and
- Then it searches recursively inside open shadow roots in the iteration order.
In particular, in
css engines, 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.
More advanced Shadow DOM use cases:
":light(article div)"match the first
<div>In the light dom</div>.
"article > div"and
":light(article > div)"match two
divelements that are direct children of the
"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
divelements do not contain a
"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
":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.
Playwright can select elements based on the page layout. These can be combined with regular CSS for better results, for example
input:right-of(:text("Password")) matches an input field that is to the right of text "Password".
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.
:left-of(inner > selector)- Matches elements that are to the left of any element matching the inner selector.
:above(inner > selector)- Matches elements that are above any of the elements matching the inner selector.
:below(inner > selector)- Matches elements that are below any of the elements matching the inner selector.
:near(inner > selector)- Matches elements that are near (within 50 CSS pixels) any of the elements matching the inner selector.
XPath selectors are equivalent to calling
Selector starting with
.. is assumed to be an xpath selector. For example, Playwright converts
xpath does not pierce shadow roots
Attribute engines are selecting based on the corresponding attribute value. For example:
data-test-id=foo is equivalent to
id:light=foo is equivalent to
Selectors defined as
engine=body or in short-form can be combined with the
>> token, e.g.
selector1 >> selector2 >> selectors3. When selectors are chained, next one is queried relative to the previous one's result.
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".
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.
css=article >> text=Hello captures the element with the text
*css=article >> text=Hello (note the
*) captures the
article element that contains some element with the text
The choice of selectors determines the resiliency of automation scripts. To reduce the maintenance burden, we recommend prioritizing user-facing attributes and explicit contracts.
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.