What Is the Variant Data Type in VB Script?


Scott Campbell

What Is the Variant Data Type in VB Script?

In VB Script, the variant data type is a versatile and powerful data type that can hold values of different types. It is particularly useful when you need to work with data that can change its type during runtime. The variant data type allows you to store numeric, string, date, boolean, array, and object values in a single variable.

Declaration and Initialization

To declare a variant variable in VB Script, you don’t need to specify its data type explicitly. You can simply use the Dim keyword followed by the variable name:

Dim myVariable

You can also initialize a variant variable at the time of declaration:

Dim myVariable = "Hello World"

Assigning Values

The variant data type allows you to assign values of different types to the same variable. For example:

myVariable = 10           ' Numeric value
myVariable = "Hello"      ' String value
myVariable = True         ' Boolean value
myVariable = Array(1, 2)  ' Array value

You can even assign objects to variant variables:

Set myObject = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")
myVariable = myObject    ' Object reference

Type Conversion and Compatibility

The variant data type automatically converts values between different types as needed. This flexibility allows you to perform operations on variables without having to explicitly convert them beforehand.

However, it’s important to note that excessive reliance on automatic type conversion can lead to unexpected results and potential errors. It’s recommended to explicitly convert variant variables using appropriate functions like CInt, CDbl, CStr, etc., when you want to ensure strict type handling.

Checking the Type of a Variant Variable

You can use the VarType function to determine the current type of a variant variable. This function returns an integer value representing the type of the variable.

Dim myVariable = "Hello World"
Dim variableType

variableType = VarType(myVariable)

If variableType = vbString Then
    Response.Write("The variable is a string.")
End If


The variant data type in VB Script is a powerful tool for handling dynamic data with different types. It provides flexibility and convenience, allowing you to work with various types of data within a single variable. However, it’s important to use caution and be aware of potential pitfalls that can arise from excessive reliance on automatic type conversion.

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