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This post is part of my Today I learned series in which I share all my web development learnings.

Today I came across an MDN page which describes the labels property of textarea elements. I hadn't used this DOM element property before and started playing around with it.

It turns out that input elements (and textareas) hold references to their connected labels.

Assuming you wrote HTML below, you can access the label element using the labels property. labels returns a NodeList with the connected elements.

<label for="foo">Some input</label>
<input type="text" id="foo">

<script>
  console.log(document.getElementById('foo').labels);
  // NodeList (1) [label]
</script>

I never had a use case for this property, but I bet that accessibility linters use the labels property quite heavily to validate accessible forms. Label your input elements, friends! Labels are essential to make your forms accessible.

When creating forms, I prefer to place the input elements inside label elements because it increases the clickable area that will focus the input.

Unfortunately, if you place your input elements inside labels, you can't omit the for attribute because not every screenreader supports "wrapping labels".

I was delighted to find out that the labels property works fine with this approach, too!

<label>
  <span>
    Some input
  </span>
  <input type="text" id="foo">
</label>

<script>
  console.log(document.getElementById('foo').labels);
  // NodeList (1) [label]
</script>

It even returns multiple labels if you're using several labels for one input element.

<label>
  <span>
    Some input
  </span>
  <input type="text" id="foo">
</label>
<label for="foo">Some input</label>

<script>
  console.log(document.getElementById('foo').labels);
  // NodeList (2) [label, label]
</script>

And that's it! Maybe you're writing an accessibility linter right now โ€“ then labels can be helpful. :)

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