I have this array:

declare -A astr

I add elements to it:


But later on I need to know what are the indexes IDs (elemA and elemB) and list them.

echo "${astr[@]}" #this only get me the values...

1 Answer 1


You can get the list of "keys" for the associative array like so:

$ echo "${!astr[@]}"
elemB elemA

You can iterate over the "keys" like so:

for i in "${!astr[@]}"
  echo "key  : $i"
  echo "value: ${astr[$i]}"


$ for i in "${!astr[@]}"; do echo "key  : $i"; echo "value: ${astr[$i]}"; done
key  : elemB
value: 199
key  : elemA
value: 123


  • 2
    I just found it also works for numerically indexed arrays also: astr2=(a b c d e);echo ${!astr2[@]};unset astr2[2];echo ${!astr2[@]} thx! Sep 23, 2013 at 16:29
  • 1
    @AquariusPower - Yeah if you roll the edits back on my answer you'll see that i had originally included the numeric index too, but then droped it since you wanted named hashes.
    – slm
    Sep 23, 2013 at 16:33
  • Note that ${!var[index]} doesn't work, only ${!var[@]} or ${!var[*]} do :(
    – i336_
    Jun 24, 2016 at 3:09
  • @i336_ - take the ! out so it's ${var[index]}. tldp.org/LDP/abs/html/arrays.html
    – slm
    Jun 24, 2016 at 3:14
  • Sorry, clarification: I was trying to determine the associative key for numeric index n. I realized I can easily do keys=(${!var[@]}) and then ${keys[n]}, giving me the index, but around the same time I also realized I need to rethink my approach.
    – i336_
    Jun 24, 2016 at 3:32

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