How to define a single or multiple return type for a function in TypeScript

2022 Guide to All 4 Types of Colleg...
2022 Guide to All 4 Types of College Degrees

Sometimes, reading through the TypeScript documentation may be a bit difficult.

And all you want to do is know how to type your functions.

In this article I discuss how to type your regular functions, arrow functions, and how to define multiple data types for a function.

Defining return type of a function

Returning the type value from a function is pretty simple.

All you need to do is add a : between the closing parenthesis of the signature method ,and the opening curly bracket.

After the colon, write the data type the function will return. This may either be a string, number, boolean, void, or and many more.


interface PersonProps {
  name: string;
  age: number;
  isCool: boolean;
}

// Return type string
function setName(str: string): string {
  return str;
}

// Return type number
function setAge(num: number): number {
  return num;
}

// Return type boolean
function isCool(): boolean {
  return true;
}

// Return type of an object
function person(): PersonProps {
  return {
    name: setName('John Doe'),
    age: setAge(31),
    isCool: isCool(),
  }
}

// Return type void
function greet(): void {
  console.log('Hi there!');
}

Defining return type for arrow function

The same rule applies to arrow function.


// Return type string
const setName = (name: string): string => name;

// Return type number
const setAge = (num: number): number => num;

// Return type boolean
const isCool = (): boolean => true;

// Return type void
const greet = (): void => console.log('Hi there!');

Return multiple data types

To allow a function to return multiple data types, you simply add a pipe after a data type.


interface PersonProps {
  id: number;
  name: string;
  likes: {
    dogs: boolean;
    cats: boolean;
  }
}

// This function may return a PersonProp object type or null
function getPersonById(id: number): PersonProps | null {

  const person = {
    id: 1,
    name: 'John Doe',
    likes: {
      dogs: true,
      cats: false,
    }
  };

  if (id !== person.id) {
    return null;
  }

  return person;
};

const person1: PersonProps | null = getPersonById(); // null

// { id: 1, name: 'John Doe', likes: { dogs: true, cats: false, } }
const person2: PersonProps | null = getPersonById(1);

In the example above, PersonProps | null, I added a pipe after PersonProps

Related articles:

I like to tweet about TypeScript and post helpful code snippets. Follow me there if you would like some too!