Jake Jake - 11 days ago 5x
Sass (Sass) Question

SASS / SCSS: Interpolate variable from string / name

Is it possible to get a variable by name?

I tried building the following function, but it's not working as expected...

@function variable-lookup($variable, $suffix: "") {
$value: null;
@if ($suffix != "" and global-variable-exists($variable+"-"+$suffix)) {
$value: #{$variable+"-"+$suffix};
@else if (global-variable-exists($variable)) {
$value: #{$variable};
@return $value;

Here's an example of how it might be used:

$primary: #000;
$primary-hover: blue;

a {
color: variable-lookup("primary", "base");

&:hover {
color: variable-lookup("primary", "hover");

The real power would come in when I want to write a bunch of context-specific, shorthand wrapper functions around this "variable-lookup" function.

Any ideas how to achieve this?


Trying to interpolate #{$variable+"-"+$suffix} to give the value primary-base and further trying to get the value of same variable name is not possible. primary-base is already a value and and can't be interpreted as a variable name. That sort of thing could lead to a lot of chaos.

For what you want to accomplish, you are better of using a map and checking for the key in that map

$colours: (
  'primary': red,
  'primary-base': blue

@function variable_lookup($colour, $suffix: '') {
  $value: null;
  @if ( $suffix != '' and map-has-key($colours, unquote($colour+'-'+$suffix)) ) {
    $value: map-get($colours, unquote($colour+'-'+$suffix));
  } @else if ( map-has-key($colours, unquote($colour)) ) {
    $value: map-get($colours, unquote($colour));
  @return $value;

div {
  color: variable-lookup(primary, base);

p {
  color: variable-lookup(primary);

This compiles to the following css

div {
  color: blue; }

p {
  color: red; }

Your code stored colours as variables but I used those names as keys in maps

This allowed to simulate the checking of variables in your code using the map-has-key method. If that returns true, the key exists and we can get the value which in this case would be the colour using map-get

One way to address the issues you raised in your comments would be to define the variables and use them in as values in the map

$primary: #fff;
$warning: yellow; 

$colours: ( primary: $primary, 
            primary-hover: darken($primary, 5%), 
            secondary: $warning, 
            secondary-hover: darken($warning, 5%) );

Another way would be to iterate through two lists and map colour to a style

$colours: ();

$list: primary success warning; //map primary to blue, success to green and so on
$shades: blue green yellow;

@for $i from 1 through length($list) {
  $key: nth($list, $i);
  $value: nth($shades, $i);
  $colours: map-merge($colours, ($key: $value));
  $colours: map-merge($colours, (unquote($key+'-hover'): darken($value, 5% )) );

@debug $colours // (primary: blue, primary-hover: #0000e6, success: green, success-hover: #006700, warning: yellow, warning-hover: #e6e600)

The variable_lookup function remains the same.

Hope this is able to help