IsSet / IsSetRef

Returns a non-zero number if the specified variable has been assigned a value.

VarIsSet := IsSet(Var)
VarIsSet := IsSetRef(&Ref)



Type: Variable

A direct variable reference. For example: IsSet(MyVar).


Type: VarRef

An indirect reference to the variable. This would usually not be passed directly, as in IsSetRef(&MyVar), but indirectly, such as to check a parameter containing a VarRef prior to dereferencing it.

Return Value

Type: Integer (boolean)

The return value is 1 (true) if Var or the variable represented by Ref has been assigned a value, otherwise 0 (false).


Use IsSet to check a variable directly, as in IsSet(MyGlobalVar).

Use IsSetRef to check a VarRef, which would typically be contained by a variable, as in the example below.

A variable which has not been assigned a value is also known as an uninitialized variable. Attempting to read an uninitialized variable causes an exception to be thrown. IsSet can be used to avoid this, such as for initializing a global or static variable on first use.

Note: Static initializers such as static my_static_array := [] are evaluated only once, the first time they are reached during execution, so typically do not require the use of IsSet.

Although IsSet uses the same syntax as a function call, it may be considered more of an operator than a function. The keyword IsSet is reserved for the use shown here and cannot be redefined as a variable or function. IsSet cannot be called indirectly because any attempt to pass an uninitialized variable would cause an error to be thrown.

IsSetRef can also be used to check a specific variable, by using it with the reference operator. When using it this way, be aware of the need to declare the variable first if it is global. For example, the & in IsSetRef(&MyVar) would cause MyVar to resolve to a local variable by default, if used within an assume-local function which lacks the declaration global MyVar.

ByRef parameters


Shows different uses for IsSet and IsSetRef.

Loop 2
    if !IsSet(MyVar)  ; Is this the first "use" of MyVar?
        MyVar := A_Index  ; Initialize on first "use".
MsgBox Function1(&MyVar)
MsgBox Function2(&MyVar)

Function1(&Param)  ; ByRef parameter.
    if IsSet(Param)  ; Pass Param itself, which is an alias for MyVar.
        return Param  ; ByRef parameters are automatically dereferenced.
        return "unset"

    if IsSetRef(Param)  ; Pass the VarRef contained by Param.
        return %Param%  ; Explicitly dereference Param.
        return "unset"