How Do JavaScript Closures Work? How Do JavaScript Closures Work?

JavaScript closures are a powerful and often misunderstood feature of the language. They provide a way to create functions that have access to variables from their lexical environment, even after the outer function has finished executing. Closures play a crucial role in JavaScript programming and are frequently used in functional programming and creating private variables.

To understand closures, let's first clarify some fundamental concepts. In JavaScript, functions are first-class objects, which means they can be assigned to variables, passed as arguments to other functions, and returned as values from functions. Functions can also be defined within other functions, and these nested functions have access to the variables and parameters of their outer function. This is where closures come into play.

A closure is created when an inner function references variables from its outer function, even after the outer function has returned. In other words, a closure "closes over" the variables it needs, preserving their values and scope. This behavior is possible because JavaScript has a lexical scope, meaning that variable access is determined by the position of variables in the source code.

Here's an example to illustrate how closures work:

function outer() {
var outerVariable = 'I am from outer';
function inner() {
return inner;
var closure = outer();
closure(); // Output: 'I am from outer'

In this example, the `outer` function defines a variable called `outerVariable` and a nested function called `inner`. The `inner` function has access to the `outerVariable` due to closures. When the `outer` function is called, it returns the `inner` function, which is then assigned to the variable `closure`. Finally, when `closure` is invoked as a function, it logs the value of `outerVariable`, which is 'I am from outer'.

Closures are particularly useful when dealing with asynchronous operations, callbacks, and event handling. They allow you to maintain state and access variables within the callback function, even when it is executed at a later time.

function setupCounter() {
var count = 0;
return function increment() {
var counter = setupCounter();
counter(); // Output: 1
counter(); // Output: 2

In this example, the `setupCounter` function returns an inner function that increments and logs a counter variable. The returned function forms a closure over the `count` variable, preserving its value between invocations. Each time `counter` is called, it increments the `count` variable and logs the updated value.

Closures can also be used to create private variables and encapsulation in JavaScript. By defining variables within a function scope and returning inner functions that manipulate those variables, you can prevent direct access to the variables from outside the function.

function createCounter() {
var count = 0;
return {
increment: function() {
decrement: function() {
getCount: function() {
return count;
var counter = createCounter();
console.log(counter.getCount()); // Output: 2

In this example, the `createCounter` function returns an object with three methods: `increment`, `decrement`, and `getCount`. These methods have access to the `count` variable through closure, but the `count` variable itself is not directly accessible from outside the `createCounter` function. This allows us to encapsulate the `count` variable and provide controlled access through the returned object.

Understanding closures and how they work is essential for mastering JavaScript programming. They provide a powerful mechanism for managing state, creating private variables, and controlling access to data. By leveraging closures effectively, you can write more concise, modular, and maintainable code in JavaScript.

Published on May 19, 2023

Tags: JavaScript | closure

Related Posts

Did you enjoy this article? If you did here are some more articles that I thought you will enjoy as they are very similar to the article that you just finished reading.


Learn how to code in HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Python, Ruby, PHP, Java, C#, SQL, and more.

No matter the programming language you're looking to learn, I've hopefully compiled an incredible set of tutorials for you to learn; whether you are beginner or an expert, there is something for everyone to learn. Each topic I go in-depth and provide many examples throughout. I can't wait for you to dig in and improve your skillset with any of the tutorials below.