What does this do in javascript?

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In JavaScript, the keyword “this” is a powerful and often misunderstood feature. It refers to the current context or object and is used to access its properties and methods. Understanding how “this” works is crucial for writing clean and efficient JavaScript code. In this article, we will dive deeper into the topic of “this” in JavaScript and explore its various use cases and behaviors.

What is “this” in JavaScript?

In JavaScript, “this” is a special keyword that refers to the object that is currently executing the code. It provides a way to access the properties and methods of the object within its scope. The value of “this” is determined by how a function is called or how an object is accessed.

How is “this” determined?

The value of “this” is not static and can change depending on the context in which it is used. There are several ways to determine the value of “this” in JavaScript:

1. Global context: When “this” is used outside of any function or object, it refers to the global object, which is usually the window object in a browser environment.

2. Function context: When “this” is used inside a regular function, its value is determined by how the function is called. If the function is called as a method of an object, “this” refers to that object. However, if the function is called without any context, “this” will default to the global object.

3. Method context: When “this” is used inside a method of an object, it refers to the object itself. In this case, “this” allows access to the object’s properties and methods.

4. Constructor context: When a function is used as a constructor with the “new” keyword, “this” refers to the newly created object. The constructor function sets the properties and methods of the object using “this”.

5. Event context: When an event handler is triggered, “this” refers to the element that triggered the event. This allows access to the element’s properties and methods within the event handler.

Common Use Cases for “this”

Understanding the different contexts of “this” in JavaScript opens up various use cases and possibilities. Here are some common scenarios where “this” is frequently used:

1. Object-oriented programming: “this” is often used in object-oriented programming to refer to the current instance of an object. It allows methods to access and modify the object’s properties.

2. Event handling: When handling events in JavaScript, “this” is used to refer to the element that triggered the event. This allows for dynamic and interactive web applications.

3. Function chaining: By returning “this” from a method, it enables method chaining. This technique is commonly used in libraries and frameworks to provide a more concise and expressive API.

4. Callback functions: When passing a function as a callback, “this” can be used to maintain the context of the original object. This is particularly useful in asynchronous operations.


In JavaScript, the keyword “this” plays a crucial role in accessing and manipulating objects within their respective contexts. Understanding how “this” is determined and its various use cases is essential for writing effective and maintainable JavaScript code. By leveraging the power of “this,” developers can create more dynamic and interactive web applications.


– developer.mozilla.org
– javascript.info
– w3schools.com