Supported docblock annotations

Psalm supports a wide range of docblock annotations.

PHPDoc tags

Psalm uses the following PHPDoc tags to understand your code: - @var Used for specifying the types of properties and variables - @return Used for specifying the return types of functions, methods and closures - @param Used for specifying types of parameters passed to functions, methods and closures - @property Used to specify what properties can be accessed on an object that uses __get and __set - @property-read Used to specify what properties can be read on object that uses __get - @property-write Used to specify what properties can be written on object that uses __set - @deprecated Used to mark functions, methods, classes and interfaces as being deprecated

Off-label usage of the @var tag

The @var tag is supposed to only be used for properties. Psalm, taking a lead from PHPStorm and other static analysis tools, allows its use inline in the form @var Type [VariableReference].

If VariableReference is provided, it should be of the form $variable or $variable->property. If used above an assignment, Psalm checks whether the VariableReference matches the variable being assigned. If they differ, Psalm will assign the Type to VariableReference and use it in the expression below.

If no VariableReference is given, the annotation tells Psalm that the right hand side of the expression, whether an assignment or a return, is of type Type.

/** @var string */
$a = $_GET['foo'];

/** @var string $b */
$b = $_GET['bar'];

function bat(): string {
    /** @var string */
    return $_GET['bat'];

Psalm-specific tags

There are a number of custom tags that determine how Psalm treats your code.

@psalm-var, @psalm-param and @psalm-return

When specifying types in a format not supported phpDocumentor (but supported by Psalm) you may wish to prepend @psalm- to the PHPDoc tag, so as to avoid confusing your IDE. If a @psalm-prefixed tag is given, Psalm will use it in place of its non-prefixed counterpart.

@psalm-suppress SomeIssueName

This annotation is used to suppress issues. It can be used in function docblocks, class docblocks and also inline, applying to the following statement.

Function docblock example:

 * @psalm-suppress PossiblyNullOperand
function addString(?string $s) {
    echo "hello " . $s;

Inline example:

function addString(?string $s) {
    /** @psalm-suppress PossiblyNullOperand */
    echo "hello " . $s;

@psalm-assert, @psalm-assert-if-true and @psalm-assert-if-false

These annotations allow you to specify very basic facts about how a class of functions operate.

For example, if you have a class that verified its input is an array of strings, you can make that clear to Psalm:

/** @psalm-assert string[] $arr */
function validateStringArray(array $arr) : void {
    foreach ($arr as $s) {
        if (!is_string($s)) {
          throw new UnexpectedValueException('Invalid value ' . gettype($s));

This enables you to call the validateStringArray function on some data and have Psalm understand that the given data must be an array of strings:

function takesString(string $s) : void {}
function takesInt(int $s) : void {}

function takesArray(array $arr) : void {
    takesInt($arr[0]); // this is fine


    takesInt($arr[0]); // this is an error

    foreach ($arr as $a) {
        takesString($a); // this is fine

Similarly, @psalm-assert-if-true and @psalm-assert-if-false will filter input if the function/method returns true and false respectively:

class A {
    public function isValid() : bool {
        return (bool) rand(0, 1);
class B extends A {
    public function bar() : void {}

 * @psalm-assert-if-true B $a
function isValidB(A $a) : bool {
    return $a instanceof B && $a->isValid();

 * @psalm-assert-if-false B $a
function isInvalidB(A $a) : bool {
    return $a instanceof B || !$a->isValid();

function takesA(A $a) : void {
    if (isValidB($a)) {

    if (isInvalidB($a)) {
        // do something
    } else {

    $a->bar(); //error

As well as getting Psalm to understand that the given data must be a certain type, you can also show that a variable must be not null:

 * @psalm-assert !null $value
function assertNotNull($value): void {
  // Some check that will mean the method will only complete if $value is not null.

And you can check on null values:

 * @psalm-assert-if-true null $value
function isNull($value): bool {
  return ($value === null);


This can be used to tell Psalm not to worry if a function/method returns null. It’s a bit of a hack, but occasionally useful for scenarios where you either have a very high confidence of a non-null value, or some other function guarantees a non-null value for that particular code path.

class Foo {}
function takesFoo(Foo $f): void {}

/** @psalm-ignore-nullable-return */
function getFoo(): ?Foo {
  return rand(0, 10000) > 1 ? new Foo() : null;



This provides the same, but for false. Psalm uses this internally for functions like preg_replace, which can return false if the given input has encoding errors, but where 99.9% of the time the function operates as expected.

@template and @template-typeof

Phan first introduced the template annotation to allow classes to implement generic-like features.

Psalm extends this with @template-typeof to allow you to type methods that instantiate objects e.g.

 * @template T
 * @template-typeof T $class_name
 * @return T
function instantiator(string $class_name) {
    return new $class_name();

Psalm also uses @template annotations in its stubbed versions of PHP array functions e.g.

 * Takes one array with keys and another with values and combines them
 * @template TKey
 * @template TValue
 * @param array<mixed, TKey> $arr
 * @param array<mixed, TValue> $arr2
 * @return array<TKey, TValue>
function array_combine(array $arr, array $arr2) {}


If you have a magic property getter/setter, you can use @psalm-seal-properties to instruct Psalm to disallow getting and setting any properties not contained in a list of @property (or @property-read/@property-write) annotations.

 * @property string $foo
 * @psalm-seal-properties
class A {
     public function __get(string $name): ?string {
          if ($name === "foo") {
               return "hello";

     public function __set(string $name, $value): void {}

$a = new A();
$a->bar = 5; // this call fails

Type Syntax

Psalm supports PHPDoc’s type syntax, and also the proposed PHPDoc PSR type syntax.

Class constants

Psalm supports a special meta-type for MyClass::class constants, class-string, which can be used everywhere string can.

For example, given a function with a string parameter $class_name, you can use the annotation @param class-string $class_name to tell Psalm make sure that the function is always called with a ::class constant in that position:

class A {}

 * @param class-string $s
function takesClassName(string $s) : void {}

takesClassName("A"); would trigger a TypeCoercion issue (or a PossiblyInvalidArgument issue if allowCoercionFromStringToClassConst was set to false in your config), whereas takesClassName(A::class) is fine.

Object-like Arrays

Psalm supports a special format for arrays where the key offsets are known: object-like arrays.

Given an array

["hello", "world", "foo" => new stdClass, 28 => false];

Psalm will type it internally as:

array{0: string, 1: string, foo: stdClass, 28: false}

If you want to be explicit about this, you can use this same format in @var, @param and @return types (or @psalm-var, @psalm-param and @psalm-return if you prefer to keep this special format separate).

function takesInt(int $i): void {}
function takesString(string $s): void {}

 * @param (string|int)[] $arr
 * @psalm-param array{0: string, 1: int} $arr
function foo(array $arr): void {

foo(["cool", 4]); // passes
foo([4, "cool"]); // fails

Callables and Closures

Psalm supports a special format for callables of the form

callable(Type1, OptionalType2=, ...SpreadType3):ReturnType

Using this annotation you can specify that a given function return a Closure e.g.

 * @return Closure(bool):int
function delayedAdd(int $x, int $y) : Closure {
  return function(bool $debug) use ($x, $y) {
    if ($debug) echo "got here" . PHP_EOL;
    return $x + $y;

$adder = delayedAdd(3, 4);
echo $adder(true);