In JavaScript, there are two main ways to access an object's properties and methods. These are dot notation and bracket notation. They're both a type of property accessor.

For these examples, let's use the object literal from yesterday's post:

var dog = {
name: "Yoko",
breed: "Labrador",
bark: function () {
return "Woof!";

Dot notation

Usually, we access an object's properties and methods using dot notation.

For the object above, that would look like this:; // Yoko

dog.breed; // Labrador

dog.bark(); // Woof!

Bracket notation

It's possible to do this with bracket notation, too:

dog["name"]; // Yoko

dog["breed"]; // Labrador

dog["bark"](); // Woof!

Why two options?

Bracket notation is necessary when you need to get a property/method name programmatically.

This could be because it's saved to a variable, the result of a function call, or any number of reasons.

For a simple use case, imagine I have a variable called dogSpeak, and its value is the string "bark":

var dogSpeak = "bark";

I can't just do the following, because there isn't a dogSpeak() method. I'll get a TypeError:

dog.dogSpeak(); // TypeError: dog.dogSpeak is not a function

We have to use bracket notation here. Notice that I'm not using quotes, because dogSpeak is the name of a variable:

dog[dogSpeak](); // Woof!

This works because the value of the dogSpeak variable is the string "bark", so it invokes the bark() method.


There are two main types of property accessor in JavaScript.

  • We use dot notation most of the time.
  • We use bracket notation when we need to get a property/method name programmatically.

For more information, check out property accessors in the MDN Web Docs. 👍