Solve - Cannot read property 'offsetTop' of Null in JS

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Borislav Hadzhiev

Last updated: Oct 21, 2021

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Solve - Cannot read property 'offsetTop' of Null #

The "Cannot read property 'offsetTop' of null" error occurs for 2 reasons:

  1. Accessing the offsetTop property on a null value (DOM element that doesn't exist).
  2. Placing the JS script tag above the HTML where the DOM elements are declared.

cannot read property offsettop of null

Here is an example of how the error occurs.

index.js
const el = null; // ⛔️ Cannot read properties of null (reading 'offsetTop') console.log(el.offsetTop);

To solve the "Cannot read property 'offsetTop' of null" error, make sure the id you're using to get the element is contained in the DOM. The error often occurs after providing a non-existent id to the getElementById method.

index.js
const el = document.getElementById('does-not-exist'); console.log(el); // 👉️ null // ⛔️ Cannot read properties of null (reading 'offsetTop') console.log(el.offsetTop);

We provided a non-existent id to the getElementById method and got a null value back.

Accessing the offsetTop property on a null value causes the error.

To solve the "Cannot read property 'offsetTop' of null" error, place the JS script tag at the bottom of the body tag. The script should run after the DOM elements have been created.

index.html
<!DOCTYPE html> <html lang="en"> <head> <meta charset="UTF-8" /> </head> <body> <!-- ❌ BAD - script runs before div exists ❌ --> <script src="index.js"></script> <div id="box">Content here</div> </body> </html>

We placed the JS script tag at the top of the body tag. The index.js file is ran before the div element is available, therefore the div can't be accessed from the file.

index.js
const el = document.getElementById('box'); console.log(el); // 👉️ null // ⛔️ Cannot read properties of null (reading 'offsetTop') console.log(el.offsetTop);

Instead, move the JS script tag to the bottom of the body tag, after all the DOM elements the file tries to access.

index.html
<!DOCTYPE html> <html lang="en"> <head> <meta charset="UTF-8" /> </head> <body> <div id="box">Content here</div> <!-- ✅ GOOD - div already exists ✅ --> <script src="index.js"></script> </body> </html>

Now we are able to access the div element inside of the index.js file.

index.js
const el = document.getElementById('box'); console.log(el); // 👉️ div#box // ✅ Works console.log(el.offsetTop); // 👉️ 8

Conclusion #

The "Cannot read property 'offsetTop' of null" error occurs when trying to access the offsetTop property on a null value.

To solve the error, run the JS script after the DOM elements are available and make sure you only access the property on valid DOM elements.

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