Type Casting in TypeScript: A Complete Guide

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


TypeScript enhances JavaScript with types and interfaces to help catch errors during development. Type casting, also known as type assertion, is a concept that allows developers to convert a variable from one type to another. In this guide, we will explore how to safely and effectively utilize type casting in TypeScript.

Understanding the Basics

Before diving deep into the nuances of type casting, it’s crucial to understand what types are in TypeScript. The type system in TypeScript is designed to help you catch potential bugs by defining what kind of data a variable should hold. For instance, number, string, and boolean are some of the basic built-in types TypeScript provides.

let count: number = 5;
let name: string = 'TypeScript';
let isValid: boolean = true;

In TypeScript, type casting is performed using two syntaxes, the as syntax or <typename> syntax. Below are examples of both:

let someValue: any = "this is a string";

// 'as' syntax
let strLength: number = (someValue as string).length;

// Angle-bracket syntax
let strLength: number = (<string>someValue).length;

Note that when using JSX with TypeScript, only the as syntax is allowed to avoid conflict with JSX’s tags.

Type Assertions

Type assertions are a way to tell the TypeScript compiler that you know more about the type of a variable than it does. Here’s an example of how you might need to use it when interacting with the DOM API:

const myInput = document.getElementById('myInput') as HTMLInputElement;

This assumes that getElementById will return an HTMLInputElement, and therefore it is safe to access the value property directly. Without the assertion, TypeScript would type myInput as HTMLElement, which doesn’t have a value property.

Working with Union Types

Union types can be a bit tricky when it comes to type casting since the value can be one of several types. Suppose we have the following union type:

function handleEvent(event: MouseEvent | KeyboardEvent) {
    if ('keyCode' in event) {
        console.log(event.keyCode); // We know this is a KeyboardEvent

Within the body of the function, we can determine whether event is a KeyboardEvent by checking for the presence of the keyCode property. However, sometimes you know for sure the type of an object and want to override TypeScript’s inference:

function handleEvent(event: MouseEvent | KeyboardEvent) {
    let mouseEvent = event as MouseEvent;
    console.log(mouseEvent.clientX); // Type casting to MouseEvent

Type Guards

Instead of type casting, you can also use type guards. A type guard is a technique where you use some logic to narrow down the type of an object within a conditional block. Here’s how you can refactor the previous code example to use a type guard:

function isMouseEvent(event: MouseEvent | KeyboardEvent): event is MouseEvent {
    return 'clientX' in event;

function handleEvent(event: MouseEvent | KeyboardEvent) {
    if (isMouseEvent(event)) {
    } else {

Using type guards makes your code more robust by not asserting types without reason and relying on runtime checks.

Advanced Type Casting

For more complex scenarios, you may want to use generics or conditional types. These advanced features allow for greater flexibility and more precise type control. Here’s an example of using generics with type casting:

function getTypedValue<T>(value: any): T {
    return value as T;

let stringValue = getTypedValue<string>('Hello, TypeScript!');
let numberValue = getTypedValue<number>(100);

When doing so, you still need to make sure that you’re not breaking the type system by assuming incorrect types.

Best Practices

Best practices when type casting in TypeScript:

  • Use type casting sparingly and only when you are certain of the types involved.
  • Prefer type guards for a more robust and maintainable codebase.
  • Never assert a type just to satisfy the compiler if it can lead to a runtime error.
  • Remember that type casting does not change the actual type of the variable – it only overrides TypeScript’s type inference.


Type casting is a powerful tool in TypeScript that allows developers to provide explicit type information in contexts where type inference is not enough. This guide covered how to perform type casting using different syntaxes, the usage of type assertions with union types, and type guards. By understanding these concepts and adhering to best practices, you can use type casting effectively to build safer, more understandable code. Remember to use these techniques cautiously, respecting TypeScript’s type system designed to help you, not to be circumvented.