How to Inspect Element on Safari for Mac


Safari is Apple’s widely-used web browser, favored for its sleek design, performance, and seamless integration with macOS. One of the lesser-known but incredibly powerful features of Safari is its “Inspect Element” tool, which allows developers and tech-savvy users to peek behind the scenes of a web page’s HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore how to use the “Inspect Element” feature on Safari for Mac, along with some practical tips for web development and troubleshooting.

Why Use Inspect Element:

Inspect Element is an essential tool for web developers, designers, and anyone interested in understanding how web pages are structured and styled. With the ability to inspect and modify elements in real-time, users can:

  • Diagnose layout and formatting issues: Identify the root causes of layout glitches, positioning errors, or unwanted margins/padding.
  • Test design changes: Experiment with various CSS modifications to see how they affect the page’s appearance before implementing them in the actual code.
  • Debug JavaScript: Understand and fix scripting errors, inspect variables, and examine network requests.
  • Study web development techniques: Learn from other websites’ source codes and discover how certain features or effects are implemented.

How to Access Inspect Element on Safari for Mac:

  • Opening Developer Tools

    To access the Inspect Element tool, you need to enable Safari’s Developer menu first. Follow these steps:

    a. Open Safari and click on “Safari” in the menu bar.

    b. From the dropdown menu, select “Preferences.”

    c. In the Preferences window, go to the “Advanced” tab.

    d. Check the box next to “Show Develop menu in the menu bar.”

  • Launching Inspect Element

    With the Developer menu now available, you can access the Inspect Element feature:

    a. Open the webpage you want to inspect.

    b. Click on “Develop” in the menu bar.

    c. From the dropdown list, select “Show Web Inspector.”

    Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcut: Option (⌥) + Command (⌘) + I.

Understanding the Inspect Element Interface:

Upon launching Inspect Element, a new window will open, displaying a plethora of information about the webpage:

  • Elements Panel: This panel displays the Document Object Model (DOM) tree, representing the page’s hierarchical structure. Each element can be expanded or collapsed to reveal its child elements.
  • Styles Panel: This panel showcases the CSS rules applied to the selected element. It allows you to view and modify CSS properties in real-time.
  • Computed Panel: Here, you can see the final computed styles for the selected element, taking into account CSS inheritance and specificity.
  • Resources Panel: This panel provides valuable insights into network activity, displaying all the files loaded by the page, such as images, scripts, and stylesheets.
  • Console Panel: The Console allows you to write and test JavaScript code, log messages, and examine errors.

Inspecting and Modifying Elements:

To inspect an element on the page, simply hover over the desired element in the “Elements” panel, and Safari will highlight it on the webpage. You can then:

  • View Element Properties: Clicking on an element in the “Elements” panel reveals its properties in the “Styles” panel, where you can view and modify CSS rules. You can experiment with different styles to see the instant changes.
  • Edit HTML: Double-clicking an element’s HTML in the “Elements” panel allows you to edit it directly. This is useful for quick tests or experimenting with layout changes.
  • Force State: Right-clicking on an element enables you to force various states, such as hover or active, to see how the page responds to those interactions.

Using Inspect Element for Web Development:

  • Debugging JavaScript:

    The “Console” panel in Inspect Element is a powerful tool for debugging JavaScript. You can use it to log messages, test code snippets, and inspect variables.

  • Network Analysis:

    The “Resources” panel lets you analyze network activity, providing insight into loading times, file sizes, and request details. This is valuable for optimizing website performance.

  • Responsive Design Testing:

    Inspect Element offers a responsive design mode, allowing you to preview how the webpage looks on different devices and screen sizes.

  • Auditing Website Performance:

    Safari’s “Timelines” feature helps you analyze the website’s loading and rendering performance, allowing you to identify bottlenecks and optimize accordingly.


The “Inspect Element” tool in Safari for Mac is a gem for web developers and tech enthusiasts, offering valuable insights into the structure and behavior of web pages. Whether you’re debugging code, experimenting with design changes, or learning from other websites, Inspect Element is your ally in understanding the intricacies of web development. Armed with this comprehensive guide, you are now well-equipped to utilize Safari’s Inspect Element feature effectively and enhance your web development skills on macOS. Happy inspecting!

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