The PHP associative arrays are lists or groups that already have multiple values grouped by indexes or serials.

The basic array syntax would be like the below.

array( ... );

// or

[ ... ]

PHP Associative Arrays Overview

The associative array contains a list of values grouped by labels. So each value inside the associative array has a label name.

PHP Associative Arrays

The associative array can be written as the below.

<?php 
  $package = array(
     "book"  => "Rich Dad",
     "softs" => "Anti Virus",
     "food"  => "Cheese",
     "tools" => "Pencil",
     "pc"    => "Laptop",
     "paper" => "Printed Paper"
  );
?>

These labels also named as keys.

Anyway, in the following sections I will show you how to create, add, delete elements from the associative array.

Also, you can access all elements by calling it by the square brackets [] for example.

<?php 
  echo $package["key1"]; // value 1
?>

PHP Associative Arrays: Creating Elements

To create associative array, you have two ways as the below.

<?php 
  $package = array(
     "user" => "Peter",
     "email" => "peter@mail.com
  );
?>

And you can add more elements using the square brackets [] as the below.

<?php 
  $package["age"]  = "35 years";
  $package["city"] = "Liverpool";
?>

So each new element has a new different key, Also you can update the array using square brackets [] by calling the same key name of the array element. For example.

<?php 
  $package["user"]  = "Montasser"; 
?>

In the following section you will learn how to delete an element from the associative array.

Delete an Element From the Associative Array

As I mentioned, the associative array has a key name for each element. So you can delete an element using the key name.

Here I will use unset() PHP built-in function to remove an array element.

<?php  
  // delete the email element from the array
  unset( $array["email"] ); // will delete an element
?>

To loop on the associative array you have to read this article.

Wrapping Up

The associative array contains a list of values grouped by labels. So each value inside the associative array has a label name or key name.

You can access the associative array by calling it by its key name like this: $array["email"]. Also, to delete an element from the associative array you have to use unset().