Add CSS to with JavaScript?

Is there a way to add css from a string in the javascript file to the head of a document with javascript?

Let’s say we have a webpage, which has a lightbox script, this script requires a css file to function.

Now adding this css file with <link> will make the css file download even for people that don’t have js enabled.

I know that I can dynamically load the css file with the script, but that also means that there will be 2 http requests, and in cases where there is little to no css in the file I find this inefficient.

So I thought to myself, what if you could put the css that you have in the css file, into the script, have the script parse the css and add it into the head, or even better just have the script add the css directly into the <head> of the document.

But I have found nothing online that suggests that this is possible, so is it possible to add css to the head with js?


I edited roryf’s answer to work cross browser (except IE5)


 function addcss(css){
    var head = document.getElementsByTagName('head')[0];
    var s = document.createElement('style');
    s.setAttribute('type', 'text/css');
    if (s.styleSheet) {   // IE
        s.styleSheet.cssText = css;
    } else {                // the world


As you are trying to add a string of CSS to <head> with JavaScript? injecting a string of CSS into a page it is easier to do this with the <link> element than the <style> element.

The following adds p { color: green; } rule to the page.

<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="data:text/css;charset=UTF-8,p%20%7B%20color%3A%20green%3B%20%7D" />

You can create this in JavaScript simply by URL encoding your string of CSS and adding it the HREF attribute. Much simpler than all the quirks of <style> elements or directly accessing stylesheets.

var linkElement = this.document.createElement('link');
linkElement.setAttribute('rel', 'stylesheet');
linkElement.setAttribute('type', 'text/css');
linkElement.setAttribute('href', 'data:text/css;charset=UTF-8,' + encodeURIComponent(myStringOfstyles));

This will work in IE 5.5 upwards

The solution you have marked will work but this solution requires fewer dom operations and only a single element.

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