How Can I Add a Key-Value Pair to a JavaScript Object?

Matthew C.

The Problem

You want to add a key-value pair to a JavaScript object, how do you do this?

The Solution

We’ll describe six ways to add a key-value pair to a JavaScript object.

Using Property Accessors

Property accessors use dot notation or bracket notation to give access to an object’s properties, which can also be called keys. You can use them to add a key-value pair to an object. It’s the most straightforward way of adding a key-value pair to an object.

Dot Notation

Using dot notation is another common way to add a key-value pair to an object.

const obj = { name: "Ben" };
obj.age = 22;

console.log(obj); // { name: 'Ben', age: 22 }

The key should be a String or a symbol. If you need a key to be a different primitive value or an object, or if the insertion order of the key-value pairs is important, don’t use a regular JavaScript object. Use a Map.

Bracket Notation

Dot notation does have some limitations. If the key is dynamic, if it contains spaces or hyphens, or if it starts with a number you’ll get an error message. In these cases, you can use bracket notation:

const obj = { name: "Ben" };
const prop1 = "prop name";
const prop2 = "prop-name";
const prop3 = "1prop-name";
obj[prop1] = "value 1";
obj[prop2] = "value 2";
obj[prop3] = "value 3";

// {"name": "Ben", "prop name": "value 1", "prop-name": "value 2", "1prop-name": "value 3"}

Using spread (...) Syntax

You can use the spread (...) syntax to add a key-value pair to an object:

const obj = { name: "Ben" };
const newObj = { ...obj, age: 22 };
console.log(newObj); // { name: 'Ben', age: 22 }

You can spread in any iterable, such as an array, object, or String. Unlike the other methods explained here, spread (...) syntax does not mutate the original object, which may be useful if you don’t want to change the original object. It creates a new object, which makes its performance the worst of the methods explained here.

You can add multiple properties at once or merge multiple iterables, such as objects. The merge is shallow: Any nested objects will not be copied to the new object.

If a property is added that already exists on the object, the property value will be overwritten:

const obj = { name: "Ben", age: 22 };
const obj2 = { ...obj, age: 33 };
console.log(obj2); // { name: 'Ben', age: 33 }

Using Object.assign()

The Object.assign() method is similar to using the spread syntax, but it only joins two objects and mutates the target object.

const obj = { name: "Ben" };
Object.assign(obj, { age: 22 });
console.log(obj); // { name: 'Ben', age: 22 }

The first argument is the target object; the second object is the source object. The source object’s properties are added to the target object.

Using Object.defineProperty()

The Object.defineProperty() method can be used to add or modify a property on an object. This method is useful for more complex property additions where you want to set property descriptors such as enumerable, configurable, and writable.

const obj = { name: "Ben" };
Object.defineProperty(obj, "age", {
  value: 22,
  writable: false,
  enumerable: true,
  configurable: true,
console.log(obj); // { name: 'Ben', age: 22 }
obj.age = 24; // this won't change the 'age' key because 'writable' is set to false
console.log(obj); // { name: 'Ben', age: 22 }
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