JavaScript this

In this tutorial, you will learn about JavaScript's this keyword with the help of examples.

In JavaScript, this keyword refers to the object where it is called.

1. this Inside Global Scope

When this is used alone, this refers to the global object (window object in browsers). For example,

let a = this;
console.log(a);  // Window {}

this.name = 'Sarah';
console.log(window.name); // Sarah

Here, this.name is the same as window.name.


2. this Inside Function

When this is used in a function, this refers to the global object (window object in browsers). For example,

function greet() {

    // this inside function
    // this refers to the global object
    console.log(this);
}

greet(); // Window {}

3. this Inside Constructor Function

In JavaScript, constructor functions are used to create objects. When a function is used as a constructor function, this refers to the object inside which it is used. For example,

function Person() {

    this.name = 'Jack';
    console.log(this);

}

let person1 = new Person();
console.log(person1.name);

Output

Person {name: "Jack"}
Jack

Here, this refers to the person1 object. That's why, person1.name gives us Jack.

Note: When this is used with ES6 classes, it refers to the object inside which it is used (similar to constructor functions).


4. this Inside Object Method

When this is used inside an object's method, this refers to the object it lies within. For example,

const person = {
    name : 'Jack',
    age: 25,

    // this inside method
    // this refers to the object itself
    greet() {
        console.log(this);
        console.log(this.name);
    }
}

person.greet();

Output

{name: "Jack", age: 25, greet: ƒ}
Jack

In the above example, this refers to the person object.


5. this Inside Inner Function

When you access this inside an inner function (inside a method), this refers to the global object. For example,

const person = {
    name : 'Jack',
    age: 25,

    // this inside method
    // this refers to the object itself
    greet() {
        console.log(this);        // {name: "Jack", age ...}
        console.log(this.age);  // 25

        // inner function
        function innerFunc() {
        
            // this refers to the global object
            console.log(this);       // Window { ... }
            console.log(this.age);    // undefined
            
        }

        innerFunc();

    }
}

person.greet();

Output

{name: "Jack", age: 25, greet: ƒ}
25
Window { …}
undefined

Here, this inside innerFunc() refers to the global object because innerFunc() is inside a method.

However, this.age outside innerFunc() refers to the person object.


6. this Inside Arrow Function

Inside the arrow function, this refers to the parent scope. For example,

const greet = () => {
    console.log(this);
}
greet(); // Window {...}

Arrow functions do not have their own this. When you use this inside an arrow function, this refers to its parent scope object. For example,

const greet = {
    name: 'Jack',

    // method
    sayHi () {
        let hi = () => console.log(this.name);
        hi();
    }
}

greet.sayHi(); // Jack

Here, this.name inside the hi() function refers to the greet object.

You can also use the arrow function to solve the issue of having undefined when using a function inside a method (as seen in Example 5). For example,

const person = {
    name : 'Jack',
    age: 25,

    // this inside method
    // this refers to the object itself
    greet() {
        console.log(this);
        console.log(this.age);

        // inner function
        let innerFunc = () => {
        
            // this refers to the global object
            console.log(this);
            console.log(this.age);
            
        }

        innerFunc();

    }
}

person.greet();

Output

{name: "Jack", age: 25, greet: ƒ}
25
{name: "Jack", age: 25, greet: ƒ}
25

Here, innerFunc() is defined using the arrow function. It takes this from its parent scope. Hence, this.age gives 25.

When the arrow function is used with this, it refers to the outer scope.


7. this Inside Function with Strict Mode

When this is used in a function with strict mode, this is undefined. For example,

'use strict';
this.name = 'Jack';
function greet() {

    // this refers to undefined
    console.log(this);
}
greet(); // undefined

Note: When using this inside a function with strict mode, you can use JavaScript Function call().

For example,

'use strict';
this.name = 'Jack';

function greet() {
    console.log(this.name);
}

greet.call(this); // Jack

When you pass this with the call() function, greet() is treated as the method of the this object (global object in this case).

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