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Typescript Enums

Fabien Schlegel

Fabien Schlegel

5 min

published: 6/28/2023

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In TypeScript, Enums provide a convenient way to define a set of named constants. They offer improved code clarity, readability, and type safety by associating a set of named values with a specific type. This article aims to explore the concept of TypeScript enums, their syntax, benefits, usage, and best practices.

Understanding Enums

What are Enums?

Enums, short for enumerations, are a feature in TypeScript that allows developers to define a collection of related values under a single name. They provide a simple and intuitive way to work with predefined sets of values, making code more expressive and self-explanatory.

Enum Syntax

To define an enum in TypeScript, you use the enum keyword followed by the enum's name and a set of member values enclosed in curly braces. Each member value is assigned an implicit numeric value, starting from 0 and incremented by 1 for each subsequent member.


enum Weekday {

Enum Values

By default, enum values are represented by numbers. You can access these values by using the enum member's name.


console.log(Weekday.Monday); // Output: 0
console.log(Weekday.Tuesday); // Output: 1

Enum with String Values

Enums can also be defined with string values instead of numeric values. By explicitly assigning string values to enum members, you can have more control over the values associated with each member.


enum Direction {
  Up = 'UP',
  Down = 'DOWN',
  Left = 'LEFT',
  Right = 'RIGHT',

Benefits of Using Enums

Code Clarity and Readability

Enums enhance code clarity by providing descriptive names to represent values. Instead of using magic numbers or string literals throughout the code, enums offer self-explanatory symbols that make the code easier to understand and maintain.


let currentDay: Weekday = Weekday.Monday;

if (currentDay === Weekday.Monday) {
  console.log("It's Monday!");

Type Safety and Autocompletion

TypeScript enums provide type safety by ensuring that only valid enum values are used. The compiler performs static checks to prevent assigning incorrect or nonexistent values to enum variables. IDEs can also provide autocompletion and suggestions based on enum values, making development more efficient and error-resistant.


function printDirection(direction: Direction) {
  console.log('Current direction:', direction);

printDirection(Direction.Up); // Output: Current direction: UP
printDirection(Direction.Left); // Output: Current direction: LEFT

Enum as a Union Type

Enums can be used as part of a union type, allowing variables to accept either enum values or other compatible types. This flexibility enables developers to create more expressive type definitions and handle various scenarios in their codebase.


type Result = 'Success' | 'Failure' | Direction;

function handleResult(result: Result) {
  if (result === Direction.Up) {
    console.log('Going up!');
  } else if (result === 'Success') {
    console.log('Operation successful!');

handleResult(Direction.Up); // Output: Going up!
handleResult('Success'); // Output: Operation successful!

Enum Iteration

Enums in TypeScript are iterable, which means you can easily iterate over all the enum values. This feature is particularly useful when you need to perform operations on all possible enum members, such as generating a dropdown list or validating user input.


enum Month {
  // ... rest of the months

for (let month in Month) {

Working with Enums

Declaring Enums

To declare an enum, you simply define it using the enum keyword followed by the enum's name and member values.


enum Color {

Assigning Values to Enums

By default, enums are assigned numeric values starting from 0. However, you can assign specific values to enum members explicitly.


enum StatusCode {
  OK = 200,
  BadRequest = 400,
  Unauthorized = 401,
  // ... rest of the status codes

Accessing Enum Values

To access the values of an enum, you can use either the enum member's name or its associated value.


console.log(StatusCode.OK); // Output: 200
console.log(StatusCode[200]); // Output: OK

Enum Operations

Enums in TypeScript support several operations, such as checking if a value is part of the enum, obtaining the keys or values of an enum, or converting between enum values and their string representations.


enum Size {

console.log(Size.hasOwnProperty('Medium')); // Output: true
console.log(Object.keys(Size)); // Output: ["0", "1", "2"]
console.log(Object.values(Size)); // Output: [0, 1, 2]

Best Practices

Naming Conventions

When naming enums, it is recommended to use singular nouns or noun phrases that describe the collection of values the enum represents. The names should be concise, meaningful, and follow consistent conventions throughout the codebase



enum UserRole {

Enum Composition

Instead of creating large enums with a vast number of members, consider composing smaller enums and combining them when necessary. This approach promotes code modularity, reusability, and better organization.


enum AnimalType {
  // ... other animal types

enum VehicleType {
  // ... other vehicle types

type TransportType = AnimalType | VehicleType;

Using Enums in Functions and Interfaces

Enums can be used as function parameters or return types to ensure type safety and clarity. They can also be incorporated into interfaces to define specific property values, providing a contract-like structure for working with enum-related data.


interface User {
  id: number;
  name: string;
  role: UserRole;

function getUserRole(user: User): UserRole {
  return user.role;


TypeScript enums are a powerful feature that simplifies code, enhances readability, and improves type safety. By using enums, developers can define named constants, avoid magic values, and write more expressive code. Understanding how to declare, assign values, and utilize enums effectively can greatly benefit TypeScript projects.

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