JavaScript Scope - Function Scope

Scope in JavaScript defines the visibility and accessibility of variables and functions in different parts of your code. In this guide, we'll explore function scope, one of the key aspects of scope in JavaScript, and provide examples to illustrate its behavior.

Understanding Function Scope

Function scope refers to the idea that variables declared inside a function are only accessible within that function. They are considered local variables, and their scope is limited to the function where they are defined.

function greet() {
var message = "Hello, World!"; // Function-scoped variable
console.log(message); // ReferenceError: message is not defined

In this example, the message variable is defined inside the greet function and is accessible within that function. Attempting to access message outside of the function results in a ReferenceError.

Variable Shadowing

If a variable with the same name is declared within a function and there is another variable with the same name in an outer scope, the inner variable "shadows" the outer one:

var count = 10;
function updateCount() {
var count = 20; // Inner variable shadows the outer variable
updateCount(); // Outputs: 20
console.log(count); // Outputs: 10

The inner count variable declared within the updateCount function shadows the outer count variable, so they are treated as separate variables with the same name.

Block Scope vs. Function Scope

Prior to ES6 (ECMAScript 2015), JavaScript had only function scope. Variables declared using var were function-scoped, meaning they were accessible throughout the entire function in which they were defined. ES6 introduced block scope with the let and const keywords:

if (true) {
var functionScopedVar = "Function Scoped"; // Function-scoped
let blockScopedVar = "Block Scoped"; // Block-scoped
console.log(functionScopedVar); // Outputs: "Function Scoped"
console.log(blockScopedVar); // ReferenceError: blockScopedVar is not defined

The functionScopedVar is accessible outside of the if block, demonstrating function scope, while the blockScopedVar is block-scoped and not accessible outside the block.


Understanding function scope is essential for writing clean and reliable JavaScript code. It helps you manage variables and prevent unintended variable shadowing. With the introduction of block scope in ES6, you have more control over variable scoping using let and const.

Happy coding with function scope!