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I have an absolutely positioned div that I want to show when the user clicks a link. The onclick of the link calls a js function that sets the display of the div to block (also tried: "", inline, table-cell, inline-table, etc). This works great in IE7, not at all in every other browser I've tried (FF2, FF3, Opera 9.5, Safari).

I've tried adding alerts before and after the call, and they show that the display has changed from none to block but the div does not display.

I can get the div to display in FF3 if I change the display value using Firebug's HTML inspector (but not by running javascript through Firebug's console) - so I know it's not just showing up off-screen, etc.

I've tried everything I can think of, including:

  • Using a different doctype (XHTML 1, HTML 4, etc)
  • Using visibility visible/hidden instead of display block/none
  • Using inline javascript instead of a function call
  • Testing from different machines

Any ideas about what could cause this?

9 answers given for "Style display not working in Firefox, Opera, Safari - (IE7 is OK)"

Accepted Solution

Since setting the properties with javascript never seemed to work, but setting using Firebug's inspect did, I started to suspect that the javascript ID selector was broken - maybe there were multiple items in the DOM with the same ID? The source didn't show that there were, but looping through all divs using javascript I found that that was the case. Here's the function I ended up using to show the popup:

function openPopup(popupID)
  var divs = getObjectsByTagAndClass('div','popupDiv');
  if (divs != undefined && divs != null)
    for (var i = 0; i < divs.length; i++)
      if (divs[i].id == popupID)
        divs[i].style.display = 'block';        

(utility function getObjectsByTagAndClass not listed)

Ideally I'll find out why the same item is being inserted multiple times, but I don't have control over the rendering platform, just its inputs.

So when debugging issues like this, remember to check for duplicate IDs in the DOM, which can break getElementById.

To everyone who answered, thanks for your help!

Can you provide some markup that reproduce the error?

Your situation must have something to do with your code since I can get this to work on IE, FF3 and Opera 9.5:

function show() {
  var d = document.getElementById('testdiv'); = 'block';
#testdiv {
  position: absolute;
  height: 20px;
  width: 20px; 
  display: none;
  background-color: red;
<div id="testdiv"></div>
<a href="javascript:show();">Click me</a>

Found the answer : I need to use the following to make it work on both browsers :

document.getElementById('editRow').style.display = '';

Actually I was experiencing the same problem you're describing here. What actually fixed my issue was changing the document properties.

Old DOCTYPE/html spec

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN" "">
<html xmlns="">

Replaced with


Check the error console (Tools Menu > Error Console in Firefox 3) to make sure that there isn't another error happening that you're not seeing, which is stopping your script from working.

Try setting the height and width of the div, and make sure it is on top by setting its z-index higher than everything else. If the absolutely positioned div is inside an element that is relatively positioned, it's top and left location is based off the top and left of the relatively positioned element. Try putting your div just under the body element.

You must write a window.onload method:

window.onload = document.getElementById('testdiv').style.display='inline';

Or you can also make a variable:

var d = document.getElementById('testdiv');
window.onload = = 'inline';

There is an annoying display error on Firefox 3.5 but not on IE7 or Firefox 2.0.9

I have 3 DIV's position absolute - the first with plain text; the second with a CSS menu (sucklefish type with UL and LI) and the third ditto. The third will not display at all even though the coding has been checked and found to be perfect with W3C's HTML validator.

As a temporary measure, I have merged the second and third DIV's contents.

Things must be bad at Mozilla when IE7 and FF2 display OK but not FF 3.5

I'll give you a BIG hint:

<div style="..." class="..."> ... </div>

If you have something in style, then will work! If you have something in class, it will not show up in and class="..." will OVERRIDE it!

Think about this and this will clear up SO MANY ISSUES. Just this one little understanding will RID you of this MIND VIRUS. Have a good day. Cheers, Ron Lentjes, LC CLS.