How to use JavaScript to Alter CSS for Multiple Elements

Tags: javascript,css,twitter-bootstrap,dom

Problem :

I am trying to use JavaScript to change the background color of an element after being selected, and also to make sure that only one element at a time has the particular background color. Once the user selects on a different element I would like the previous element that was selected to be replaced by a different background color. Currently I am only able to toggle individual elements by selecting on EACH element. I need to be able to select on an element and apply the new background color, then have JavaScript change the background color of the previously active element to a different color (one less click).

What I am trying to do is very similar to modern navbars or list items where only one element at a time is “active” and has a background color that is different than the other elements in the same div, row, etc.

Notes about my work I am utilizing bootstrap and have no desire to use jQuery for this particular project.


<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
            h4 {
                border: 1px solid black;
                border-radius: 8px;
                padding: 10px 2px 10px 2px;
                margin: 20px 20px 0px 20px;
                background-color: #F0F0F0;
                border-color: #F8F8F8;
                color: #505050;
                cursor: pointer;

            .active {
                background-color: #99E6FF;


<div id="pTwoRowOne">
    <div class="row">
        <div class="col-md-4 row row-centered">
            <h4 id="techBio" class="test">Biology</h4>
        <div class="col-md-4 row row-centered">
            <h4 id="techCart" class="test">Cartography</h4>
        <div class="col-md-4 row row-centered">
            <h4 id="techChem" class="test">Chemistry</h4>


document.getElementById("techBio").onclick=function() {

document.getElementById("techCart").onclick=function() {

document.getElementById("techChem").onclick=function() {

An example can be seen here:,css,js,output

If clarification is needed let me know.

Solution :

Another similar yet simpler way to do it: jsBin ;)

var H4 = document.getElementsByClassName("test"), act;

[], function(el){
    el.addEventListener("click", function(){
       if(act) act.classList.remove("active");
       return (this.classList.toggle("active"), act=this);

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