Find all paths of value in a JavaScript object

I found myself with an interesting problem when I was trying to reverse engineer the data structure of an object. I knew the ID was somewhere in this huge object but it was obstruficated. I didn't want to expand every property just to find out where this ID resided.

I came up with this algorithm. It will find all occurrences of a value in an object recursively. It returns an array with all of the paths it found the value in.

const search = (obj, target, path = []) => {  
  let paths = [];
  for (let i in obj) {
    if (obj.hasOwnProperty(i)) {
      let ref = obj[i];
      if (ref === target) {
        paths.push([...path, i].join('.'));
      if (typeof ref === 'object') {
        let results = search(ref, target, [...path, i]);
        if (results.length > 0) {
          paths = paths.concat(results);
  return paths;

Word to the wise, I didn't put cyclical loop detection in this, so don't use it with those kinds of objects. If you do, you are going to have a bad time.

See the JSFiddle for a use case.

Bret Lowrey

Code is like a war - the best code is one never written.

Florida, USA