How to Configure Laravel Pint? Complete Guide

Building complex web applications often involves intricate connections between data. In Laravel, the robust Many-To-Many relationship allows you to manage scenarios where a single record in one table can be associated with multiple records in another.

This guide incorporates insights and best practices from the leading Laravel development company. It will equip you with the knowledge to master this essential relationship type in Laravel. We’ll also explore real-world use cases, and guide you through step-by-step creation and management processes.

By the conclusion, you will receive recognition for your adept establishment and strategic utilization of Many-To-Many relationships. Thus, fostering a highly adaptable and data-centric development environment.

What is a Many-To-Many Relationship in Laravel?

In Laravel’s Eloquent ORM, a Many-To-Many relationship facilitates the association between multiple records in one table with multiple records in another. This proves invaluable when modeling scenarios where a single entity can have connections with various entities of another kind.

For example, a product might belong to several categories within an e-commerce application. Here, a single product record can be linked to multiple category records, and vice versa – a category can encompass numerous product records.

How Does Many-To-Many Relationship in Laravel Work?

  • Pivot Table. A core aspect of Many-To-Many relationships is the involvement of a junction table, often called a pivot table. This table acts as an intermediary, housing keys from both the connected tables. It can also store data specific to the relationship, offering more flexibility.
  • Eloquent Methods. Laravel’s Eloquent library provides built-in methods. It includes belongsToMany to define these relationships within your models. These methods handle the underlying database interactions. It streamlines the process of associating and retrieving related models.
  • CRUD Operations. Once the relationship is established, you can use Laravel CRUD operations on the connected models. This enables you to manage the associations between entities within your application.

Thus, Many-To-Many relationships in Laravel provide a powerful and versatile mechanism for modeling complex data interactions. It simplifies the management of complex connections within your web application.

Why Use Many-To-Many Relationship in Laravel?

Many-to-many relationships are a cornerstone of building robust and flexible data models in Laravel applications. Let’s understand why they earn a prominent place in your development toolkit.

Benefits of Using Many-To-Many Relationship in Laravel

  • Modeling Real-World Relationships. Products belong to categories, users have roles, and tags are associated with posts. These relationships are modeled using Laravel’s Many-To-Many functionality. It ensures your data structure accurately reflects the complexities of your application’s domain.
  • Improved Data Organization. Managing intricate data associations can quickly become cumbersome. With Many-To-Many relationships, you streamline the process of associating and retrieving related models. Laravel’s built-in methods handle the underlying database interactions, allowing you to focus on the application logic.
  • Enhanced Functionality. Many-To-Many relationships offer significant flexibility. Pivot tables can store additional data specific to the connection, enriching your data model. This empowers you to capture the procedure of the relationship, such as the order in which a product is displayed within a category.

Hence, Many-To-Many relationships are a powerful tool in your Laravel development. For complex data interactions and feature-rich applications, they offer a clean solution. If you require assistance with crafting a comprehensive data model, consider seeking guidance from Laravel development experts.

How to Use Many-To-Many Relationship in Laravel?

Now that we understand Many-To-Many relationships, let’s dive into the practical steps involved in implementing them within your Laravel application. Here’s a breakdown of the key processes:

Step 1:  Define Models and Migration

The foundation for a Many-To-Many relationship lies in establishing the models and their corresponding migrations. Here’s a detailed breakdown of this step:

1. Create Models. Use the Laravel Artisan command to generate separate models for each table involved in the relationship. For example, to create models for Post and Tag, run the following commands:

php artisan make:model Post -m
php artisan make:model Tag -m

These commands will create the Post.php and Tag.php model files within your application’s app directory.

2. Define Model Properties. Within each model, define the relevant properties using Laravel’s data types. For example, a Post model might have properties for title, content, and id.

3. Create Migrations. Next, generate migration files for both the posts and tags tables. Use the Artisan command:

php artisan make:migration create_posts_table
php artisan make:migration create_tags_table

These commands will create migration files named create_posts_table_migration.php and create_tags_table_migration.php within your application’s database/migrations directory.

4. Define Table Structure in Migrations. Open the migration files and define the table structure using Laravel’s Schema builder methods. Here’s an example of the posts table migration:

public function up()
    Schema::create('posts', function (Blueprint $table) {

Remember to define the appropriate columns and data types for each table in their respective migration files. Once you’ve completed these steps, you have a solid foundation for the Many-To-Many relationship. This establishes the models and their corresponding database tables.

Step 2: Create Pivot Table

The pivot table acts as the mediator, connecting the two main tables in a Many-To-Many relationship. Here’s how to create it:

1. Generate Migration. Use Laravel’s Artisan command to generate a migration for the pivot table. By default, Laravel uses a naming convention that combines the singular names of the related models in alphabetical order. For a Post and Tag relationship, the command would be:

php artisan make:migration create_post_tag_table

This command will create a new migration file named create_post_tag_table_migration.php within your database/migrations directory.

2. Define Pivot Table Structure. Open the generated migration file and define the table structure using Laravel’s Schema builder. The pivot table typically includes keys for both the connected models (post_id and tag_id in this case). You can also add additional columns to store relevant data specific to the relationship.

public function up()
    Schema::create('post_tag', function (Blueprint $table) {

3. Run Migrations. Once you’ve defined the pivot table structure, execute the migrations using the Artisan command:

php artisan migrate

This command will create the pivot table (post_tag in this example) along with the previously defined tables (posts and tags) in your database. Once you are done with the steps, you’ll establish the pivot table. The bridge that facilitates the Many-To-Many relationship between your models.

Step 3: Define Relationships in Models

Now that you have the models and their connecting pivot table, it’s time to define the Many-To-Many relationships within your models. Laravel’s Eloquent ORM provides a convenient way to achieve this.

1. Use belongsToMany Method. Within each model, use the belongsToMany method provided by Eloquent to define the relationship with the other table. This method specifies the related model and, optionally, the pivot table name if it varies from the Laravel pattern.

// In the Post.php model:
public function tags()
    return $this->belongsToMany(Tag::class);
// In the Tag.php model:
public function posts()
    return $this->belongsToMany(Post::class);

2. Customize Pivot Table Name (Optional). By default, Laravel uses a naming convention for the pivot table based on the related models. If you’ve named your pivot table differently, you can specify the custom name as the second argument to the belongsToMany method.

public function tags()
    return $this->belongsToMany(Tag::class, 'post_tag');

3. Define Pivot Table Columns (Optional). In some scenarios, you might want to store additional data specific to the relationship within the pivot table. Laravel allows you to define these additional columns within the belongsToMany method using a closure.

public function tags()
    return $this->belongsToMany(Tag::class)->withPivot('weight');

This example adds a column named weight to the pivot table. It allows you to specify the order or importance of a tag associated with a particular post. As the relationships are defined within your models, you’ve established a clear communication channel between them.

Step 4: CRUD Operations on Relationships

With the Many-To-Many relationship established, you can leverage Laravel’s syntax to perform CRUD operations on the connected models. This streamlines the process of managing associations within your application.

1. Attach Tags to a Post (Create). Use the attach method on a model instance to associate it with related models.

$post = Post::find(1);
$post->tags()->attach([1, 2, 3]); // Attach tags with IDs 1, 2, and 3

2. Detach Tags from a Post (Delete). Operate the detach method to remove specific or all related models from an association.

$post = Post::find(1);
$post->tags()->detach(2); // Detach tag with ID 2
$post->tags()->detach(); // Detach all associated tags

3. Sync Tags for a Post (Update). The sync method allows you to completely replace the existing associations with a new set of related models.

$post = Post::find(1);
$post->tags()->sync([2, 4]); // Update tags to include IDs 2 and 4 only

4. Update Pivot Table Data (Optional). If you’ve defined additional columns in the pivot table, you can update their values using the updateExistingPivot method.

$post = Post::find(1);
$post->tags()->updateExistingPivot(2, ['weight' => 5]); // Update weight for tag ID 2

With the understanding of these methods, you gain control over managing the associations between your models. This empowers you to create a dynamic and data-driven application experience.

Step 5: Retrieve Related Models

A crucial aspect of Many-To-Many relationships is efficiently fetching the associated models. Laravel’s Eloquent provides methods to effortlessly retrieve related data in a single database call, optimizing performance and code readability.

1. Eager Loading. Use the with method within your model queries to eagerly load the related models along with the primary model. This avoids separate database calls for each association.

$posts = Post::with('tags')->get();
// This fetches all posts along with their associated tags in a single query

2. Lazy Loading. For scenarios where you don’t necessarily need all related models upfront, leverage lazy loading. This involves accessing the relationship method on a retrieved model instance, triggering the database query only when needed.

$post = Post::find(1);
$tags = $post->tags; // Fetches tags only when accessed
// This fetches the post and retrieves tags only if you actually use the $tags variable

3. Filtering Related Models. You can filter the retrieved related models using query scopes or closures within the relationship method. This allows you to fetch specific subsets of associated data.

$post = Post::with('tags:published')->get(); // Fetch only published tags
// This retrieves posts along with their published tags only

Completing the last step, you are acknowledged to retrieve and manage the complex data connections within your Laravel application. Following each stage precisely, you can ensure optimal performance and a seamless user experience.

What are the Additional Functionalities of Many-To-Many Relationship in Laravel?

While we’ve covered the core functionalities, Many-To-Many relationships in Laravel offer even more flexibility for managing complex data interactions. Here’s a closer look at some valuable features:

1. Filtering Related Models

As mentioned, you can filter the retrieved related models using query scopes or closures within the relationship method. This enables you to fetch specific subsets of associated data. Hence benefits in optimizing your database queries and tailoring the results to your specific needs.

2. Eager Loading vs. Lazy Loading

We explored both eager loading (fetching related models with the primary model) and lazy loading (retrieving them on demand). Understanding these techniques is crucial for optimizing performance. Eager loading is ideal when you always need related data. Where on the other hand, lazy loading is more efficient when you might not require it in all scenarios.

3. Order Related Models

You can control the order in which related models are retrieved using methods like orderBy within the relationship method. This allows you to present the associated data in a specific sequence. It can display tags in alphabetical order or ordered by their importance (if a custom weight column exists in the pivot table).

4. Custom Pivot Table Columns

We previously discussed adding custom columns to the pivot table to store additional data specific to the relationship. These columns can hold information like timestamps, ordering positions, or any other relevant details. It includes information that enriches your data model and provides more context to the associations between entities.

5. Access Pivot Table Data

Laravel allows you to access the data stored within the pivot table columns. This can be useful for retrieving information specific to the relationship. You can count on the procedures such as the order in which a tag is associated with a post (using a custom weight column).

By mastering these functionalities, you can use Many-To-Many relationships in Laravel to their full potential. For complex applications with numerous Many-To-Many relationships, consider enlisting the expertise of a Laravel development agency. Their experience can prove invaluable in optimizing your database structure and ensuring efficient data retrieval.

Ready to enhance your Laravel application? Explore our Laravel Development Services today!

FAQs About Many-To-Many Relationship in Laravel

How to get many-to-many field data in Laravel?
To access the data of related models in a many-to-many relationship, you can use the accessor method on the parent model. This method will return a collection of the related models. For example, to get a user's roles, you could use $user->roles.
Can I eager load many-to-many relationships in Laravel?
Absolutely! Eager loading is a technique to fetch related model data along with the initial query. This can improve performance by reducing the number of database queries needed. You can use the with method on your Eloquent query to achieve this. For instance, $user = User::with('roles')->find(1); will fetch the user and their associated roles in a single query.
How many types of relationships are there in Laravel?
Laravel's Eloquent ORM supports various relationships to model your database interactions. Some common ones include:
  • One-to-One. A single record in one table relates to a single record in another table.
  • One-to-Many. A single record in one table relates to many records in another table.
  • Many-to-Many. Many records in one table relate to many records in another table through a junction (pivot) table.
  • Has-One-Through. A model relates to another model through an intermediate model.


You’ve successfully navigated the comprehensive guide to Many-To-Many relationships in Laravel. By now, you’re equipped to confidently model complex data associations within your Laravel applications. From understanding the core concepts to CRUD operations, you possess the knowledge to establish dynamic and data-driven applications.

Remember, mastering these relationships unlocks a world of possibilities for building robust and scalable Laravel applications. Whether you’re managing product categories in an eCommerce platform or associating users with roles, Many-To-Many relationships provide a powerful tool in your Laravel development.

Need Help Implementing Many-To-Many Relationships in Your Laravel Project? Let our Laravel experts can assist you optimize database interactions and implement these relationships effectively.

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Chinmay Pandya is an accomplished tech enthusiast specializing in PHP, WordPress, and Laravel. With a solid background in web development, he brings expertise in crafting innovative solutions and optimizing performance for various projects.

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