Iframes and jQuery – Working with an embedded iframe

IFrames, while they can be bad for accessibility (i.e. bookmarking), can also be very handy.

What I found was that working with iframes proved troublesome. I initially thought it would be as simple as this:


$( function() {
 $("#myiframe").load( function(){
  alert("Number of anchors: " + this.$("a").size());
  alert("Document title: " + this.document.title);


<iframe src="myiframe.html" id="myiframe" name="myiframe"></iframe>

However, this caused several errors: this.document has no properties (i.e. this.document is undefined) and this.$ is not a function, so I had to find another way. After some trial and error in Internet Explorer and Firebug in Firefox, I found a way (which also works in Opera 9 as well, unsure about Safari though).

$( function() {
   var myiframe = $($.browser.msie ? frames["myiframe"] : "#myiframe");
   // doesn't work in Opera < 9
   myiframe.load( function() {
       var w = this.contentWindow;
       if(!w) w = myiframe[0]; // IE
       alert("Number of anchors: " + w.$("a").size());
       alert("Document title: " + w.document.title);

Several things to note:

  • In Internet Explorer, if you navigate to a different page in the iframe, the load event is not fired again.
  • The iframe needs the id and name attributes to both be present and the same.
  • The iframe page also needs to include jQuery

5 comments on “Iframes and jQuery – Working with an embedded iframe

  1. >Using jQuery 1.2.3 and Firefox 2, I encounter an unfortunate exception of

    [Exception... "'Permission denied to get property Window.jQuery' when calling method: [nsIDOMEventListener::handleEvent]” nsresult: “0x8057001e (NS_ERROR_XPC_JS_THREW_STRING)” location: “<unknown>” data: no]

    when attempting to execute merely

    myiframe.load( function() {
    var w = this.contentWindow;
    console.log(“Number of anchors: ” + w.jQuery(“a”).size());

  2. >Yea, I don’t believe this method works anymore. I’m getting the same issue using jquery 1.2.6 and FF 3 with firebug debugging.

  3. >added a line

    w = w.document;


    if(!w) w = myiframe[0]; // IE

    Firefox 3.0.9
    jQuery 1.3.2

    works like a charm in FF
    not so god in IE (as in… not at all)

  4. >Understand that iFrame structure is unavailable, if the source of iFrame is called from external server…

  5. >Initailly i was using this piece of jquery code and it was working fine with in Firefox. But i encounter problem with IE.
    $('#my_iframe').load( function(){

    Now with this line of code
    var myiframe = $($.browser.msie ? frames["my_iframe"] : "#my_iframe");

    it work in both Firefix and IE.

    Thankx a lot.

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