Partial Type in TypeScript: A Complete Guide

Updated: January 8, 2024 By: Guest Contributor Post a comment


TypeScript’s utility type Partial<T> is a powerful feature that allows for the creation of objects with optional properties. It is particularly useful when you want to create a copy of a type with all properties set to optional.

Understanding Partial Types

In TypeScript, the Partial<T> utility type converts all properties of a given type T to be optional. This can be very handy when you are dealing with updates or configurations in your code. Here is a simple example:

interface Person {
    name: string;
    age: number;

// Making all properties of Person optional
let partialPerson: Partial<Person> = {};

In this case, partialPerson can have neither, either, or both of the properties defined for Person.

CRUD Operations with Partial Types

Partial types play a significant role in CRUD (Create, Read, Update, Delete) operations where you may not need to require all object properties for certain actions. For example, when updating a record, you usually just want to update a few fields, not all:

function updatePerson(personId: number, personUpdates: Partial<Person>) {
    // Implementation for updating a person

Here, only the fields specified in personUpdates need to be provided, making the function very flexible.

Working with Complex Objects

When dealing with more complex objects, the Partial type becomes even more practical. If you have nested objects, you can apply Partial at different levels to achieve various degrees of optionality.

interface Address {
    street: string;
    city: string;
    zipcode: string;

interface Customer {
    name: string;
    age: number;
    address: Address;

// Making the address property of Customer optional
let partialCustomer: Partial<Customer> = {
    name: 'Alice',
    // address is not required thanks to Partial

// Making both Customer and Address properties optional
let partialCustomerWithPartialAddress: { address: Partial<Address> } & Partial<Customer> = {};

Combining Partial with Other Types

Partial types can be combined with other TypeScript types and utility types to create comprehensive type definitions. For example, using Readonly<Partial<T>> will make all properties optional and read-only.

let readonlyPartialPerson: Readonly<Partial<Person>> = {
    name: 'Alice'
// readonlyPartialPerson.age = 30; // Error, because it's a read-only property

This combination prevents the modification of properties once they are set, even if they are optional.

Generic Functions and Partial Types

You can also define generic functions that use partial types to handle a wide range of objects flexibly:

function applyPatch<T>(obj: T, patch: Partial<T>): T {
    return { ...obj, ...patch };

let patchedPerson = applyPatch(person, { age: 30 });

The applyPatch function applies a set of updates to an object, simulating a simple patching operation.

Advanced Partial Type Patterns

Advanced usage of partial types can involve conditional types, mapped types, or even utility functions that deepen or flatten the level of optionality based on your use case.

type DeepPartial<T> = {
    [P in keyof T]?: T[P] extends object ? DeepPartial<T[P]> : T[P];

// Now even deeply nested properties of Customer are optional
let deepPartialCustomer: DeepPartial<Customer> = {
    address: { street: 'Main St' } // city and zipcode are optional

Using this DeepPartial type, it is possible to make nested properties optional without having to individually declare each property as such.


The Partial type in TypeScript is a versatile tool that can help you create more flexible and maintainable code. By making properties optional, you facilitate operations such as updates and configurations, and the ability to combine them with other types or patterns boosts their utility even further. As TypeScript continues to evolve, patterns like Partial prove invaluable for developers who aim for scalability and robustness in their applications.