JavaScript Type Conversions

JavaScript Type Conversions

In this tutorial, you will learn about type conversions in JavaScript with the help of examples.

The process of converting one data type to another data type is called type conversion. There are two types of type conversion in JavaScript.

  • Implicit Conversion
  • Explicit Conversion

JavaScript Implicit Conversion

In certain situations, JavaScript automatically converts one data type to another (to the right type). This is known as implicit conversion.


Example 1: Implicit Conversion to String

// numeric string used with + gives string type
let result;

result = '3' + 2; 
console.log(result) // "32"

result = '3' + true; 
console.log(result); // "3true"

result = '3' + undefined; 
console.log(result); // "3undefined"

result = '3' + null; 
console.log(result); // "3null"

Note: When a number is added to a string, JavaScript converts the number to a string before concatenation.


Example 2: Implicit Conversion to Number

// numeric string used with +, - , / , * results number type

let result;

result = '4' - '2'; 
console.log(result); // 2

result = '4' - 2;
console.log(result); // 2

result = '4' * 2;
console.log(result); // 8

result = '4' / 2;
console.log(result); // 2

Example 3: Non-numeric string results NaN

// non-numeric string used with +, - , / , * results to NaN

let result;

result = 'hello' - 'world';
console.log(result); // NaN

result = '4' - 'hello';
console.log(result); // NaN

Example 4: Implicit Boolean Conversion to Number

// if boolean is used, true is 1, false is 0

let result;

result = '4' - true;
console.log(result); // 3

result = 4 + true;
console.log(result); // 5

result = 4 + false;
console.log(result); // 4

Note: JavaScript considers 0 as false and all non-zero number as true. And, if true is converted to a number, the result is always 1.


Example 5: null Conversion to Number

// null is 0 when used with number
let result;

result = 4 + null;
console.log(result);  // 4

result = 4 - null;
console.log(result);  // 4

Example 6: undefined used with number, boolean or null

// Arithmetic operation of undefined with number, boolean or null gives NaN

let result;

result = 4 + undefined;
console.log(result);  // NaN

result = 4 - undefined;
console.log(result);  // NaN

result = true + undefined;
console.log(result);  // NaN

result = null + undefined;
console.log(result);  // NaN

JavaScript Explicit Conversion

You can also convert one data type to another as per your needs. The type conversion that you do manually is known as explicit type conversion.

In JavaScript, explicit type conversions are done using the built-in methods.

Here are the commonly used explicit conversions:

1. Convert to Number Explicitly

To convert numeric strings and boolean values to numbers, you can use Number(). For example,

let result;

// string to number
result = Number('324');
console.log(result); // 324

result = Number('324e-1')  
console.log(result); // 32.4

// boolean to number
result = Number(true);
console.log(result); // 1

result = Number(false);
console.log(result); // 0

In JavaScript, empty strings and null values return 0. For example,

let result;
result = Number(null);
console.log(result);  // 0

let result = Number(' ')
console.log(result);  // 0

If a string is an invalid number, the result will be NaN. For example,

let result;
result = Number('hello');
console.log(result); // NaN

result = Number(undefined);
console.log(result); // NaN

result = Number(NaN);
console.log(result); // NaN

Note: You can also generate numbers from strings using parseInt(), parseFloat(), unary operator + and Math.floor(). For example,

let result;
result = parseInt('20.01');
console.log(result); // 20

result = parseFloat('20.01');
console.log(result); // 20.01

result = +'20.01';
console.log(result); // 20.01

result = Math.floor('20.01');
console.log(result); // 20

2. Convert to String Explicitly

To convert other data types to strings, you can use either String() or toString(). For example,

//number to string
let result;
result = String(324);
console.log(result);  // "324"

result = String(2 + 4);
console.log(result); // "6"

//other data types to string
result = String(null);
console.log(result); // "null"

result = String(undefined);
console.log(result); // "undefined"

result = String(NaN);
console.log(result); // "NaN"

result = String(true);
console.log(result); // "true"

result = String(false);
console.log(result); // "false"

// using toString()
result = (324).toString();
console.log(result); // "324"

result = true.toString();
console.log(result); // "true"

3. Convert to Boolean Explicitly

To convert other data types to a boolean, you can use Boolean().

In JavaScript, undefined, null, 0, NaN, '' converts to false. For example,

let result;
result = Boolean('');
console.log(result); // false

result = Boolean(0);
console.log(result); // false

result = Boolean(undefined);
console.log(result); // false

result = Boolean(null);
console.log(result); // false

result = Boolean(NaN);
console.log(result); // false

All other values give true. For example,

result = Boolean(324);
console.log(result); // true

result = Boolean('hello');
console.log(result); // true

result = Boolean(' ');
console.log(result); // true

JavaScript Type Conversion Table

The table shows the conversion of different values to String, Number, and Boolean in JavaScript.

Value String Conversion Number Conversion Boolean Conversion
1 "1" 1 true
0 "0" 0 false
"1" "1" 1 true
"0" "0" 0 true
"ten" "ten" NaN true
true "true" 1 true
false "false" 0 false
null "null" 0 false
undefined "undefined" NaN false
'' "" 0 false
' ' " " 0 true

You will learn about the conversion of objects and arrays to other data types in the later tutorials.


Visit these examples to learn more:

  • JavaScript Dates to Numbers
  • JavaScript Dates to Strings