Get DocType of an HTML as string with Javascript

I know that I can access to doctype object via document.doctype or document.childNodes[0] but my problem is getting doctype as a string. I can do this in chrome and safari by calling document.doctype which returns <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01//EN" "">. However in Firefox, calling document.doctype returns DocumentType object.

Is there a way to get the the doctype string in all browsers as in chrome and safari?




In all compliant browsers (including Chrome/Safari), document.doctype also returns a DocumentType object. The following code can be used to generate a valid DOCTYPE string.

var node = document.doctype;
var html = "<!DOCTYPE "
         + (node.publicId ? ' PUBLIC "' + node.publicId + '"' : '')
         + (!node.publicId && node.systemId ? ' SYSTEM' : '') 
         + (node.systemId ? ' "' + node.systemId + '"' : '')
         + '>';

This method returns the correct string for valid (HTML5) doctypes, eg:

  • <!DOCTYPE html>
  • <!DOCTYPE html SYSTEM "about:legacy-compat">
  • <!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0//EN" "">

Explanation of the code:      # Holds the name of the root element, eg: HTML / html
node.publicId  # If this property is present, then it's a public document type.
               #>Prefix PUBLIC
!node.publicId && node.systemId
               # If there's no publicId, but a systemId, prefix SYSTEM
node.systemId  # Append this if present

Is that what are you looking for ?


Concatenate, .publicId and .systemId. Something like:

'<!DOCTYPE '+' PUBLIC "'+ //maybe you should check for publicId first
  DocumentType.publicId+'" "'+

You can also use this one liner to get the current doctype. This will work in any modern browser and IE 9 and higher.

new XMLSerializer().serializeToString(document.doctype);
function get_doctype()
    var doctype = 
    '<!DOCTYPE ' + +
    (document.doctype.publicId?' PUBLIC "' +  document.doctype.publicId + '"':'') +
    (document.doctype.systemId?' "' + document.doctype.systemId + '"':'') + '>';
    return doctype;


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