Flat UI – Simple HTML tabs without jQuery or any other library

jQuery UI provides extremely simple way to implement HTML tabs. In this tutorial I’ll show how to implement that simple tabs without jQuery.


HTML structure for Tabs

<div class="tabs">
				<li><a href="#tab1" class="active">Tab 1</a></li>
				<li><a href="#tab2">Tab 2</a></li>
				<li><a href="#tab3">Tab 3</a></li>
			<div id="tab1">
				<h1>Tab 1</h1>
				<p>Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit. Accusamus nihil illo nobis sunt dolor iure nulla perferendis reprehenderit mollitia inventore laudantium cum deserunt quisquam esse excepturi aliquam eius cumque numquam.</p>

			<div id="tab2">
				<h1>Tab 2</h1>
				<p>Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit. Cumque id iste quo quisquam hic dicta natus porro voluptatum illo in doloribus eligendi itaque vitae reprehenderit fugiat enim vero a sunt.</p>

			<div id="tab3">
				<h1>Tab 3</h1>
				<p>Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit. Fuga porro amet voluptates dolorem hic minima officiis sed quae esse laborum eveniet maiores voluptatem architecto aspernatur aliquid nihil repellendus atque praesentium.</p>

Here only important part is supply unique css class name to make tabs.

i.e. <div class=”tabs”>

here we took class=”tabs” property of tab container.

Initializing tabs

<script src="tabs.js" type="text/javascript"></script>
window.addEventListener("load", function() {

 CSS to make Flat UI tabs


.tabs ul{
  bottom: -1px;
.tabs li{

.tabs a{
  padding:5px 10px;
  background-color: #EEE;
  color: #000;
  text-decoration: none;
  margin: 0 4px;
  border-top:1px solid #CCC;
  border-left:1px solid #DDD;
  border-right:1px solid #DDD;
  font:13px/18px verdana,arial,sans-serif;
  border-bottom:1px solid #CCC;
.tabs a.active{
  background-color: #fff;
  border-bottom:1px solid #fff;
.tabs div{
  clear: both;
  border:1px solid #CCC;
  background-color: #fff;

Pure Javascript Tabs implementation (tabs.js)

function makeTabs(selector) {

    tab_lists_anchors = document.querySelectorAll(selector + " li a");
    divs = document.querySelector(selector).getElementsByTagName("div");
    for (var i = 0; i < tab_lists_anchors.length; i++) {
        if (tab_lists_anchors[i].classList.contains('active')) {
            divs[i].style.display = "block";


    for (i = 0; i < tab_lists_anchors.length; i++) {

        document.querySelectorAll(".tabs li a")[i].addEventListener('click', function(e) {

            for (i = 0; i < divs.length; i++) {
                divs[i].style.display = "none";

            for (i = 0; i < tab_lists_anchors.length; i++) {

            clicked_tab = e.target || e.srcElement;

            div_to_show = clicked_tab.getAttribute('href');

            document.querySelector(div_to_show).style.display = "block";



 Explanation of tabs.js

  • Make active tab using class=”active” in HTML and initialize script at bottom of your page.
  • Script initialize with document.querySelectorAll(“.tabs li a”) to get list of all anchors styled as tab buttons.
  • Then it gets all tab divs (which contains content for tabs) using document.querySelector(“.tabs”).getElementsByTagName(“div”) and make that div visible among all content divs (made hidden by CSS)
  • Then we assigned event listener to all tabs button.
  • So, whenever you click tab, Eventlistner make all content divs invisible and then make only div visible whose id matches with anchor’s href.

    i.e.  if <a href=“#tab2”>Tab 2</a> clicked
    <div id=“tab2”></div> will be visible.

  • Here, we detect which tab is clicked using cross browser clicked_tab = e.target || e.srcElement
  • So, once clicked tab is found we can get above hash “#tab2” using clicked_tab.getAttribute(‘href’); and find related div to show.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Previous Post

jQuery :contains() selector regex for matching text within elements

Next Post

Javascript setTimeout() function jquery examples and chaining it with afterTime() plugin

Related Posts