Reusable utility function for guarding type for complex object shape using Zod

Hey there, fellow programmers!

Are you looking to level up your TypeScript skills? Dive into this blog where we explore a powerful technique for type guarding complex object shapes using Zod. Whether you're a seasoned developer or just getting started with TypeScript, this article will provide valuable insights into narrowing types and leveraging utility functions for efficient code validation. Let's embark on this journey together!

Before delving into the details, let's understand the concept of narrowing types in TypeScript. Narrowing type refers to the process of refining the possible types of a value, enabling us to handle objects correctly.

Narrowing Unknown Types

In TypeScript, we often encounter scenarios where we need to validate unknown values against complex object shapes. This process, known as narrowing types, ensures that we handle object types accurately. Let's consider an example to understand this concept better, code from

 * A custom type guard function that determines whether
 * `value` is an array that only contains numbers.
function isNumberArray(value: unknown): value is number[] {
  return (
    Array.isArray(value) && value.every(element => typeof element === "number")

const unknownValue: unknown = [15, 23, 8, 4, 42, 16];

if (isNumberArray(unknownValue)) {
  // Within this branch, `unknownValue` has type `number[]`,
  // so we can spread the numbers as arguments to `Math.max`
  const max = Math.max(...unknownValue);


Validating complex object shapes can be challenging with traditional type guards. Therefore, let's explore using Zod for type guarding complex objects.

Now, let's narrow down and validate a Record Type using the Zod data validation library.

import { z } from 'zod';

function isRecord(object: unknown): object is Record<string, unknown> {
  const recordSchema = z.record(z.unknown());
  return recordSchema.safeParse(object).success;

function findLength(object: unknown): number {
  if (isRecord(object)) {
    return Object.keys(object).length;
  throw new Error(`Input object doesn't support type`);


However, writing custom functions everywhere for such validations can lead to code duplication. Thus, we can create a utility function to streamline the process.

While exploring utility functions, I came across a reusable utility function for guarding types for complex object shapes using Zod, shared by ecyrbedev.

For instance, let's say we want to guard the type of a value that is an array of non-empty File Object using Zod:

import { z } from 'zod';

const is = <T extends z.ZodType>(value: unknown, schema: T): value is z.output<T> => {
    return schema.safeParse(value).success;

const test:unknown = [];
if(is(test,z.array(z.instanceof(File)).nonempty())) {
    //^? const test: [File, ...File[]]



In this blog post, we've explored the concept of narrowing types in TypeScript and how it enables us to validate unknown values against complex object shapes. We've also seen how Zod, a powerful data validation library, can streamline the process of type guarding. By leveraging reusable utility functions, we can write cleaner and more efficient code, reducing the risk of errors and enhancing code maintainability.

Wrapping Up

We hope you found this blog post insightful and informative! Keep exploring, experimenting, and leveling up your TypeScript skills. If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to reach out. Happy coding!

Until next time, Thada



We've received some insightful questions from our readers, Thiti Baipad and Surapus Moonjaras. Thank you both for your valuable inquiries! Let's address them one by one.

Question 1: Why not directly use zod.parse instead of just using type guards?

In a quick response, when writing the blog, I didn't really dwell on this aspect much. I must admit, I was slightly distracted during the meeting.

A fresh perspective on this is that separating the function out adds to readability. As for dependencies, it still depends on what you both prefer.

If we were to write something like:

if(z.array(z.number)).safeParse(data).success) {
  // do something 

It might be a bit hard to read and doesn't carry the same meaning as a sentence. We'd have to interpret it.

Question 2: What's the reason behind applying Zod Schema type in the utility function?

The reason for this lies in the example function provided, which specifies the internal type of the Zod object. Admittedly, I'm not extensively knowledgeable about this, but understanding such aspects allows for flexibility and application in various scenarios.

Question 3: Why remove Zod dependency from the is function?

I've previously written an article on a generic TypeScript Validation Tool without relying solely on Zod, which you can find here (The article in Thai). Hence, it's possible to extend this concept to remove the Zod dependency from the is function.

However, it doesn't mean that every solution must adhere to my recommendations. It's crucial to understand that we have various options and can apply them flexibly in different situations.

Thank you once again for your questions!