Understanding Indexed Access Types in TypeScript

Updated: January 7, 2024 By: Guest Contributor Post a comment


TypeScript enhances JavaScript by adding types to make it easier to work with complex codebases. One of its powerful features is indexed access types, also known as lookup types, which allow developers to query the type of a property within another type.

Introduction to Indexed Access Types

Indexed access types are a TypeScript feature that enables you to access the type of a property within another type, much like you would access the value of a property in an object at runtime. Instead of values, however, you are querying types at compile time. This mechanism is particularly useful when you want to enforce type safety within object properties or arrays, and to interface more effectively with complex data structures.

type User = {
  name: string;
  age: number;
  email: string;

// Accessing the type of 'age' from User
type Age = User['age']; // number

In this basic example, Age is not a number value but a type representing the type of the age property within the User object.

Dynamic Property Access

Indexed access types become especially powerful when used with dynamic property names. You can use a type for the property name to query types dynamically.

type User = {
  id: number;
  age: number;

type PropertyNames = 'id' | 'age';
type DynamicType = User[PropertyNames]; // number

This example shows how you can create a union type of all property types in the User type.

Nested Object Types

Indexed access types can also be used to access types within nested objects, which is a common pattern in JavaScript and TypeScript applications.

type User = {
  id: number;
  profile: {
    name: string;
    age: number;

type ProfileType = User['profile']; // { name: string; age: number; }

type ProfileNameType = User['profile']['name']; // string

Here, ProfileType is an object type with name and age, and ProfileNameType is a string type, accessed via two levels of property names.

Indexed Access with Arrays

Like objects, TypeScript also allows indexed access types with arrays and tuples, which is great for ensuring type safety in list structures.

type StringArray = string[];
type FirstElement = StringArray[0]; // string

// With tuples
type TupleType = [string, number];
type FirstTupleElement = TupleType[0]; // string
type SecondTupleElement = TupleType[1]; // number

In this example, we demonstrate how to access types in both regular arrays and tuples with specified type positions.

Generics and Indexed Access

Combining generics with indexed access types magnifies their utility, allowing you to write more flexible and reusable code.

function getProperty<T, K extends keyof T>(obj: T, key: K) {
  return obj[key]; // Type of return is T[K]

const user = {
  name: 'Alice',
  age: 25

const userName = getProperty(user, 'name'); // string
const userAge = getProperty(user, 'age'); // number

Here getProperty is a generic function that returns the type of the property specified by key K within type T.

Conditional Types with Indexed Access

You can create sophisticated type relationships using conditional types in conjunction with indexed access types.

type IsString = T extends string ? true : false;
type NameIsString = IsString<User['name']>; // true

In this advanced example, we leverage the indexed access type to pull the ‘name’ property from the ‘User’ type. We then pass it to a conditional type to determine if it is a string type.


Indexed access types in TypeScript provide developers with a robust toolkit for type manipulation, which is invaluable in creating safer and more predictable code. By understanding and utilizing these types in conjunction with TypeScript’s powerful generics and conditional types, you can greatly reduce type-related bugs and embrace the full power of TypeScript’s static type system.