jQuery how to find an element based on a data-attribute value?


I've got the following scenario:

var el = 'li';

and there are 5 <li>'s on the page each with a data-slide=number attribute (number being 1,2,3,4,5 respectively).

I now need to find the currently active slide number which is mapped to var current = $('ul').data(current); and is updated on each slide change.

So far my tries have been unsuccessful, trying to construct the selector that would match the current slide:


does not match/return anything…

The reason I can't hardcode the li part is that this is a user accessible variable that can be changed to a different element if required, so it may not always be an li.

Any ideas on what I'm missing?

5/24/2014 3:38:12 PM

Accepted Answer

You have to inject the value of current into an Attribute Equals selector:


For older JavaScript environments (ES5 and earlier):

$("ul").find("[data-slide='" + current + "']"); 
4/17/2020 2:22:46 PM

in case you don't want to type all that, here's a shorter way to query by data attribute:

$("ul[data-slide='" + current +"']");



When searching with [data-x=...], watch out, it doesn't work with setter:

$('<b data-x="1">'  ).is('[data-x=1]') // this works
> true

$('<b>').data('x', 1).is('[data-x=1]') // this doesn't
> false

$('<b>').attr('data-x', 1).is('[data-x=1]') // this is the workaround
> true

You can use this instead:

$.fn.filterByData = function(prop, val) {
    return this.filter(
        function() { return $(this).data(prop)==val; }

$('<b>').data('x', 1).filterByData('x', 1).length
> 1

Without JQuery, ES6


I know the question is about JQuery, but readers may want a pure JS method.


I improved upon psycho brm's filterByData extension to jQuery.

Where the former extension searched on a key-value pair, with this extension you can additionally search for the presence of a data attribute, irrespective of its value.

(function ($) {

    $.fn.filterByData = function (prop, val) {
        var $self = this;
        if (typeof val === 'undefined') {
            return $self.filter(
                function () { return typeof $(this).data(prop) !== 'undefined'; }
        return $self.filter(
            function () { return $(this).data(prop) == val; }



$('<b>').data('x', 1).filterByData('x', 1).length    // output: 1
$('<b>').data('x', 1).filterByData('x').length       // output: 1

// test data
function extractData() {
  log('data-prop=val ...... ' + $('div').filterByData('prop', 'val').length);
  log('data-prop .......... ' + $('div').filterByData('prop').length);
  log('data-random ........ ' + $('div').filterByData('random').length);
  log('data-test .......... ' + $('div').filterByData('test').length);
  log('data-test=anyval ... ' + $('div').filterByData('test', 'anyval').length);

$(document).ready(function() {
  $('#b5').data('test', 'anyval');

// the actual extension
(function($) {

  $.fn.filterByData = function(prop, val) {
    var $self = this;
    if (typeof val === 'undefined') {
      return $self.filter(

        function() {
          return typeof $(this).data(prop) !== 'undefined';
    return $self.filter(

      function() {
        return $(this).data(prop) == val;


//just to quickly log
function log(txt) {
  if (window.console && console.log) {
    //} else {
    //  alert('You need a console to check the results');
  $("#result").append(txt + "<br />");
#bPratik {
  font-family: monospace;
<script src=""></script>

<div id="bPratik">
  <div id="b1" data-prop="val">Data added inline :: data-prop="val"</div>
  <div id="b2" data-prop="val">Data added inline :: data-prop="val"</div>
  <div id="b3" data-prop="diffval">Data added inline :: data-prop="diffval"</div>
  <div id="b4" data-test="val">Data added inline :: data-test="val"</div>
  <div id="b5">Data will be added via jQuery</div>
  <div id="result"></div>

  <hr />
  <button onclick="extractData()">Reveal</button>

Or the fiddle:


I have faced the same issue while fetching elements using jQuery and data-* attribute.

so for your reference the shortest code is here:

This is my HTML Code:

<section data-js="carousel"></section>
<section data-js="carousel"></section>

This is my jQuery selector:

// this will return array of the section elements which has data-js="carousel" attribute.

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