JavaScript Functions

Functions are one of the fundamental building blocks in JavaScript. A function in JavaScript is similar to a procedure—a set of statements that performs a task or calculates a value, but for a procedure to qualify as a function, it should take some input and return an output where there is some obvious relationship between the input and the output. To use a function, you must define it somewhere in the scope from which you wish to call it.

A JavaScript function is a block of code designed to perform a particular task.

A JavaScript function is executed when "something" invokes it (calls it).


JavaScript Function Syntax

A JavaScript function is defined with the function keyword, followed by a name, followed by parentheses ().

Function names can contain letters, digits, underscores, and dollar signs (same rules as variables).

The parentheses may include parameter names separated by commas:
(parameter1, parameter2, ...)

The code to be executed, by the function, is placed inside curly brackets: {}

Function parameters are listed inside the parentheses () in the function definition.

Function arguments are the values received by the function when it is invoked.

Inside the function, the arguments (the parameters) behave as local variables.


function name(parameter1, parameter2, parameter3) {

  // code to be executed



Function Invocation

The code inside the function will execute when "something" invokes (calls) the function:

  • When an event occurs (when a user clicks a button)
  • When it is invoked (called) from JavaScript code
  • Automatically (self invoked)

You will learn a lot more about function invocation later in this tutorial.

Function Return

When JavaScript reaches a return statement, the function will stop executing.

If the function was invoked from a statement, JavaScript will "return" to execute the code after the invoking statement.

Functions often compute a return value. The return value is "returned" back to the "caller":


The () Operator Invokes the Function

Using the example above, toCelsius refers to the function object, and toCelsius() refers to the function result.

Accessing a function without () will return the function object instead of the function result.


Functions Used as Variable Values

Functions can be used the same way as you use variables, in all types of formulas, assignments, and calculations.

Instead of using a variable to store the return value of a function:


Local Variables

Variables declared within a JavaScript function, become LOCAL to the function.

Local variables can only be accessed from within the function.