Symbol.for()

The Symbol.for(key) method searches for existing symbols in a runtime-wide symbol registry with the given key and returns it if found. Otherwise a new symbol gets created in the global symbol registry with this key.

Syntax

Symbol.for(key);

Parameters

key
String, required. The key for the symbol (and also used for the description of the symbol).

Return value

An existing symbol with the given key if found; otherwise, a new symbol is created and returned.

Description

In contrast to Symbol(), the Symbol.for() function creates a symbol available in a global symbol registry list. Symbol.for() does also not necessarily create a new symbol on every call, but checks first if a symbol with the given key is already present in the registry. In that case, that symbol is returned. If no symbol with the given key is found, Symbol.for() will create a new global symbol.

Global symbol registry

The global symbol registry is a list with the following record structure and it is initialized empty:

A record in the global symbol registry
Field name Value
[[key]] A string key used to identify a symbol.
[[symbol]] A symbol that is stored globally.

Examples

Using Symbol.for()

Symbol.for('foo'); // create a new global symbol
Symbol.for('foo'); // retrieve the already created symbol

// Same global symbol, but not locally
Symbol.for('bar') === Symbol.for('bar'); // true
Symbol('bar') === Symbol('bar'); // false

// The key is also used as the description
var sym = Symbol.for('mario');
sym.toString(); // "Symbol(mario)"

To avoid name clashes with your global symbol keys and other (library code) global symbols, it might be a good idea to prefix your symbols:

Symbol.for('mdn.foo');
Symbol.for('mdn.bar');

Specifications

Specification
ECMAScript Language Specification (ECMAScript)
# sec-symbol.for

Browser compatibility

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See also