DOM Explorer

The DOM (Document Object Model) is a language neutral and platform independent abstraction that allows the content, structure, and style of HTML pages to be updated dynamically. The DOM Explorer displays the DOM in a tree format where you see all elements of a page at one time. The DOM Explorer is helpful with a complex page when simply using the mouse and hover-over-highlighting may not be enough to find the element you're looking for. The DOM Explorer typically shows the HTML page as the parent element, with HEAD and BODY elements forming the next level. The elements we're testing are usually within the BODY element.



Context Menu

Right click an element to see the context menu and perform several operations against the element.




  • Goto - navigate to a parent element. Sample entries include the entire page or an iFrame element within the page.
  • Show Element Menu - loads the recording surface with the element highlighted and the Elements Menu showing.
  • Add to Project Elements - adds the selected element to the Elements Explorer.
  • Copy to Clipboard - copy the DOM element as HTML. Choose either "Tag Only" or "Tag and Children".
  • Properties - show the element's properties in a separate window.




  • Enable highlighting on recording surface - elements are highlighted in the recording surface to match selections in the DOM Explorer tree view.
  • Hierarchical DOM View - list elements in their original hierarchy order.
  • TagName DOM View - group elements by their tagname.
  • Parent Element Filter - contains entries for the entire page and for iFrame elements within the page.
  • Refresh Tree - re-read the DOM and reload the tree view.
  • Search Tree - display a second toolbar to search the DOM.
  • Search Using Find Expressions - switch from a plain search string to a Find Expression.

Searching For Elements

A simple text search may not have enough horsepower to locate elements located deep in a large or complex DOM. For that reason, the DOM Explorer search tool has rich element identification capabilities that range from simple searches by name to complex criteria expressed using XPath and Regular Expression searches. You can use simple find expressions that test an element against a value as shown in the screenshot above. That example shows a hit for an element that has an "id" attribute of "lga".


On the left side of the expression you can use any valid attribute name (i.e. "id", "div", "name", etc.), or any of the following:

  • TextContent - returns an element that has certain text within it. TextContent is only the text at the same level as the node.
  • InnerText - looks for text content inside some set of element tags. Innertext is the combined text for a given node and everything below it.
  • InnerMarkup - returns an element with specific HTML markup inside it.
  • OuterMarkup - looks for specific HTML markup inclusive of the element itself.
  • StartTagContent
  • NodeIndexPath
  • TagName
  • TagIndex (zero based)
  • XPath - XML Path Language expressions, a syntax for selecting elements in an XML document. See MSDN for examples.


Note: In Silverlight applications you can use Silverlight specific search terms, such as AutomationId, TextContent, XamlTag, and Name.


Append an additional operator to the "=" to make other comparisons.





Here is an example that searches for the "type" attribute that starts with "hidden".


Regular Expressions

Regular Expressions (RegEx) are sequences of text characters used to describe a search pattern. They are somewhat akin to "wildcard" characters, i.e. "*" or "?", but are much more flexible and powerful. Regular expressions start with the "#" character. See MSDN for examples.


Here is an example that searches for the "onload" attribute that contains the word "focus".