# Manage elements

When we include an SVG into the HTML, we include its XML into the browser's Document Object Model (DOM). The DOM not only supports HTML but also endorses the SVG standard namespace. As a result, we can manipulate the SVG inserted in the DOM with the same methods used to manage any other element into the DOM. However, the SVG format has some specific features that require some particular methods and properties. Next, we will review how the details that make up the SVG can be handled and some specific methods and restrictions of the SVG.

# The SVG tree

# Types of elements into the SVG structure

In the SVG structure, we can find different elements classified in these types:

  • SVG document fragment: it is a document sub-tree that starts with an svg element whose parent element is not in the SVG namespace. An svg element may contain other svg within it, but these deep elements are not the root.

  • Shape elements: a graphics figure: circle, ellipse, line, path, polygon, polyline, and rect. The graphic elements cannot contain other shapes or structural elements within it. To visualize a shape within another, we are placing one on top of the other.

  • Descriptive element: provides descriptive information: desc, metadata, and title. The content of these elements is not directly rendered.

  • Structural element: defines the structure of an SVG document: defs, g, svg, symbol, and use.

  • External element: define its structure by reference to an external resource: foreignObject, image, and use.

  • Animation element: it's an element used to animate the attribute or property value of another: animate, animateMotion, animateTransform, discard, and set.

  • Paint element: defines a paint server: linearGradient, pattern, and radialGradient.

# Understand SVG basic rules on nested items

In practice, there are quite a few restrictions regarding the nesting of elements within the SVG structure, but we can summarize them in the two most important ones:

  • SVG document fragment and structural elements can contain any element's kind.

  • Shapes can contain descriptive, animation, and paint elements but cannot have other graphics or structural elements.

In this example, we can see how to define two g, put lines into it, and add a nested title by each line:

    To understand how Graphery SVG library hand the SVG DOM, we will cover an existing SVG and manage the elements easily with its specific methods. You can use document.querySelector() with an id or other CSS selectors for getting the element and pass this to the gySVG() constructor.

    This is the example SVG:

    <svg id="example2" viewBox="0 0 250 250" width="250" height="250">
        <g stroke-width="50">
          <g stroke="red">
            <line id="line1" x1="0" y1="250" x2="250" y2="0">
              <title>line 1</title>
            <g stroke-dasharray="10,2">
              <line id="line2" x1="0" y1="0" x2="250" y2="250">
                <title>line 2</title>

    We get the element and call to gySVG():

    import gySVG from 'https://cdn.graphery.online/svg/1.0.0/module/index.js';
    const svg = gySVG(document.querySelector('#example'));

    Now we can manage the SVG tree very easily.

    # children

    You can get all first level nested element with this simple method: .children(). This returns an array of objects. Each object is a gySVG wrapped over the SVG element with all methods defined in the library.

    for (let elLevel1 of svg.children()) {
      for (let elLevel2 of elLevel1.children()) {

    # parent

    All elements attached to the DOM have a parent, and this can be get with .parent() (a short synonym of .parentElement()). This return an object created by gySVG over the original SVG element and has all methods defined in the library.

    const line = svg.querySelector('#line2');
    const g    = line.parent();

    # sibling

    The next and previous element in the same level can be taking with .next() (synomym of .nextElementSibling ()) and .previous() (synonym of .previousElementSibling ()). These methods, as all other library method, return a wrapped object over the original element.

    const line1 = svg.first().first().first().first();
    const g     = line1.next();

    You can get any nested element with .querySelector() or .querySelectorAll(). These methods return an object, and an array of objects. Those objects are a Graphery SVG wrapper over the original elements with all library features.

    You can use all query selectors available without restrictions for searching deep elements into the SVG structure.

    const lines = svg.querySelectorAll('line');

    # Create and attach elements

    It is possible to define a nested element without attaching it directly. For this purpose you need to use the gySVG() constructor with the tag name as parameter:

    const newLine = gySVG('line');

    With this new element, you can attach it into others elements with .attachTo():


    It's possible to move elements between containers, for example, move the #line1 to the deep g than define a stroke_array():

    const g    = svg.querySelector('g > g > g > g');
    const line = svg.querySelector('#line1');

    # Clone elements

    With the method .cloneNode() is possible copy an element and obtain a new un attached element. This new element must be attached into any SVG element with .attachTo().

    const line1 = svg.add('line');
    const line2 = line1.clone();

    # Remove elements

    If you need to un attach an element, you can use .remove() method:


    The element exist after this operation, but it's removed from the SVG.