How to Initialize Map with Key-Value Pairs in Java

Published Jun 6, 2022

How can we initialize a Map with some key-value pairs?

Suppose we want to initialize the following Map with some values.

Map<String, Integer> map;

1. Using Map.of() and Map.ofEntries() (Java 9)

If we’re using Java 9+, we can use Map.of() for up to 10 entries.

Map<String, Integer> map = Map.of(
  "a", 1,
  "b", 2

We can also use Map.ofEntries() for no limits.

Map<String, Integer> map = Map.ofEntries(
  Map.entry("a", 1),
  Map.entry("b", 2)

2. Using anonymous subclass (Java 8)

If we’re using Java 8+, we can use an anonymous subclass to initialize the map with key-value pairs.

Map<String, Integer> map = new HashMap<>() {{
  put("a", 1);
  put("b", 2);

This is a shortened version of the normal Map initialization.

Map<String, Integer> map = new HashMap<>();
map.put("a", 1);
map.put("b", 2);

Note that using an anonymous subclass creates an entirely new class inheriting from HashMap, thereby increasing memory consumption and start-up time.

3. Using Streams (Java 8)

We can also use the Stream API in Java 8.

Map<String, Integer> map = 
    new SimpleEntry<>("a", 1), 
    new SimpleEntry<>("b", 2)

Read about how to create specific Map implementations from streams.

4. Using ImmutableMap.of() (Guava)

If using Guava, we can create immutable maps using ImmutableMap.of().

This will work for up to 5 key-value pairs.

Map<String, Integer> map = ImmutableMap.of("a", 1, "b", 2);

For no limits, we can use its builder:

Map<String, Integer> map = ImmutableMap.<String, Integer>builder()
  .put("a", 1)
  .put("b", 2)

Note that ImmutableMap != HashMap. ImmutableMap fails on null values, whereas HashMap does not.

5. Using static initializer

If our map is a class variable, we can place the initialization inside a static initializer.

static Map<String, Integer> map = new HashMap<>();
static {
  map.put("a", 1);
  map.put("b", 2);

6. Using Collections.singletonMap()

If we know our map will only have a single key-value pair, we can use Collections.singletonMap() to create an immutable map.

Map<String, Integer> map = Collections.singletonMap("a", 1);