The factorial of a number is calculated by having the number `n`

multiplied by all positive numbers between `1`

and `n`

. For example, to calculate the factorial number of `5`

and `4`

, you need to multiply the number as follows:

```
let factorial_5 = 5 * 4 * 3 * 2 * 1; // 120
let factorial_4 = 4 * 3 * 2 * 1; // 24
```

To find the factorial of a number without manually calculating it yourself, you can create a JavaScript function that calculates the factorial number for you. Let’s see how to use both iterative and recursive approaches to calculate the factorial in this tutorial.

## Calculate factorial using the iterative approach

To calculate the factorial using the iterative approach, you can create a function that accepts a `number`

, then calculate the factorial of that number using a `for`

loop.

Here’s an example:

```
function calculateFactorial(num) {
if (num === 0 || num === 1) {
return 1;
} else {
for (let i = num - 1; i >= 1; i--) {
num *= i;
}
return num;
}
}
let factorial_7 = calculateFactorial(7);
console.log(factorial_7); // 5040
```

Factorials are only available for positive numbers, so it’s recommended to `throw`

an error when the user passes a number smaller than `0`

. The following code example adds a `try...catch`

block to the `calculateFactorial()`

function:

```
function calculateFactorial(num) {
try {
if (num < 0) {
throw "Factorial number must be 0 or higher";
} else if (num === 0 || num === 1) {
return 1;
} else {
for (let i = num - 1; i >= 1; i--) {
num *= i;
}
return num;
}
} catch (err) {
console.log(err);
return undefined;
}
}
calculateFactorial(-7); // "Factorial number must be 0 or higher"
```

With the improvements above, the `calculateFactorial()`

function will be able to catch negative numbers and return `undefined`

as the factorial value for negative numbers. That will be all for calculating the factorial of a number using iterative approach. Let’s see how you can use recursive approach next.

## Calculate factorial using the recursive approach

Recursive is an approach used to solve programming problems by creating a function that calls on itself until a desired outcome is achieved.

You can use a recursive approach to find the factorial of a number as follows:

```
function factorial(num) {
if (num === 0 || num === 1) {
return num;
}
return num * factorial(num - 1);
}
let n = factorial(8);
console.log(n); // 40320
```

Just like the iterative approach, you can add a `try...catch`

block to prevent negative numbers from getting calculated:

```
function factorial(num) {
try {
if (num < 0) {
throw "Factorial number must be 0 or higher";
} else if (num === 0 || num === 1) {
return 1;
} else {
return num * factorial(num - 1);
}
} catch (err) {
console.log(err);
return undefined;
}
}
let n = factorial(8);
console.log(n); // 40320
factorial(-2); // "Factorial number must be 0 or higher"
```

And that’s how you can calculate the factorial of a number using the recursive approach.

## Conclusion

Both recursive approach and iterative approach can be used to calculate the factorial of a number, but the iterative approach using `for`

loop is commonly recommended because the algorithm is faster than the recursive approach. Unless you are required to use the recursive approach, it’s better to go with the iterative approach.