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How to check if a variable exists or defined in JavaScript

Topic: JavaScript / jQueryPrev|Next

Answer: Use the typeof operator

If you want to check whether a variable has been initialized or defined (i.e. test whether a variable has been declared and assigned a value) you can use the typeof operator.

The most important reason of using the typeof operator is that it does not throw the ReferenceError if the variable has not been declared, as demonstrated in the following example:

  • <script>
  •     var x;
  •     var y = 10;
  •     
  •     if(typeof x !== 'undefined'){
  •         // this statement will not execute
  •         alert("Variable x is defined.");
  •     }
  •     
  •     if(typeof y !== 'undefined'){
  •         // this statement will execute
  •         alert("Variable y is defined.");
  •     }
  •     
  •     // Attempt to access an undeclared z variable
  •     if(typeof z !== 'undefined'){
  •         // this statement will not execute
  •         alert("Variable z is defined.");
  •     }
  •     
  •     /* Throws Uncaught ReferenceError: z is not defined,
  •     and halt the execution of the script */
  •     if(z !== 'undefined'){
  •         // this statement will not execute
  •         alert("Variable z is defined.");
  •     }
  •     
  •     /* If the following statement runs, it will also
  •     throw the Uncaught ReferenceError: z is not defined */
  •     if(z){
  •         // this statement will not execute
  •         alert("Variable z is defined.");
  •     }
  • </script>

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