Set keyboard focus to a <div>

I have the following code snippet:

<div id="listbox1div" style="z-index:95; background:white; overflow-y:auto; overflow-x:hidden; width:240; height:314px;">
<a id="focusLink2"></a>
<table id="ptObj_listbox1...

I have a page that is building <div> elements dynamically (such as above). This <div> displays data on top of the main screen. When the page generates the divs I would like to set focus. I can not put an onLoad function on the body tag as I don't know when the divs will be generated.

A <div> tag can not have focus set on it directly. So I put an empty <a> tag with an id that I'm calling in the following function:

function setTableFocus(count){
        var flinkText = 'focusLink'+count;

I'm not getting any errors and I know the function is being called when the page is presented (via alerts). However, when I using the arrow keys or enter button the entire page moves (not even the div that is presenting the data).

When I click on to one of the table elements (using the mouse). After that the keydown event starts working. What I would like this to do is to present the data to the user and automatically be keyboard driven.

Does anyone have any suggestions how I can accomplish this?



you can make a div focusable if you add a tabindex attribute.


The tabindex value can allow for some interesting behaviour.

  • If given a value of "-1", the element can't be tabbed to but focus can be given to the element programmatically (using element.focus()).
  • If given a value of 0, the element can be focused via the keyboard and falls into the tabbing flow of the document.
  • Values greater than 0 create a priority level with 1 being the most important.

UPDATE: added a simple demo at


The function that's dynamically generating the divs will have the context available to know which div to focus on, after the last div output a script with a scrollTo() to focus on the div you want. Assign each div an ID, so you'll be able to choose it out of the set.

Response.Write "
<script language='text/javascript'>

You can't focus a div. Do you mean focus an input?

Anyway, you can include a short script tag to focus something right in the HTML - simply put the script right after the div - or even inside the div.


Are you in control of the asp function? If yes, then that'd be the easiest place to set focus. Otherwise, you could listen to DOMNodeInserted event (note: browser support may vary) and set focus to div (or its children) based on appropriate conditions.


do you mean you want to focus the divs whenever it is generated? try reasearching for these


and for the keypress..

afaik divs and other elements can have focus of some sort like in wikis, like..

and it'll scroll automatically there. I am just no sure how.

as for the dynamically generated divs and tables you can use jquery's live() function


I solve that doing the next:

<div tabindex="0" >
    <button onclick="element.parentNode.focus();"/>

You could use getElementsByClassName

<div tabindex="0" class="to-focus">TEXT</div>
<script> document.getElementsByClassName('to-focus')[0].focus()</script>


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