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PHP Arrays


An array stores multiple values in one single variable:

Example

<?php
$cars = array("Volvo", "BMW", "Toyota");
echo "I like " . $cars[0] . ", " . $cars[1] . " and " . $cars[2] . ".";
?>
Try it Yourself »

What is an Array?

An array is a special variable, which can hold more than one value at a time.

If you have a list of items (a list of car names, for example), storing the cars in single variables could look like this:

$cars1 = "Volvo";
$cars2 = "BMW";
$cars3 = "Toyota";

However, what if you want to loop through the cars and find a specific one? And what if you had not 3 cars, but 300?

The solution is to create an array!

An array can hold many values under a single name, and you can access the values by referring to an index number.


Create an Array in PHP

In PHP, the array() function is used to create an array:

array();

In PHP, there are three types of arrays:

  • Indexed arrays - Arrays with a numeric index
  • Associative arrays - Arrays with named keys
  • Multidimensional arrays - Arrays containing one or more arrays


PHP Indexed Arrays

There are two ways to create indexed arrays:

The index can be assigned automatically (index always starts at 0), like this:

$cars = array("Volvo", "BMW", "Toyota");

or the index can be assigned manually:

$cars[0] = "Volvo";
$cars[1] = "BMW";
$cars[2] = "Toyota";

The following example creates an indexed array named $cars, assigns three elements to it, and then prints a text containing the array values:

Example

<?php
$cars = array("Volvo", "BMW", "Toyota");
echo "I like " . $cars[0] . ", " . $cars[1] . " and " . $cars[2] . ".";
?>
Try it Yourself »

Get The Length of an Array - The count() Function

The count() function is used to return the length (the number of elements) of an array:

Example

<?php
$cars = array("Volvo", "BMW", "Toyota");
echo count($cars);
?>
Try it Yourself »

Loop Through an Indexed Array

To loop through and print all the values of an indexed array, you could use a for loop, like this:

Example

<?php
$cars = array("Volvo", "BMW", "Toyota");
$arrlength = count($cars);

for($x = 0; $x < $arrlength; $x++) {
    echo $cars[$x];
    echo "<br>";
}
?>
Try it Yourself »

PHP Associative Arrays

Associative arrays are arrays that use named keys that you assign to them.

There are two ways to create an associative array: 

$age = array("Peter"=>"35", "Ben"=>"37", "Joe"=>"43");

or:

$age['Peter'] = "35";
$age['Ben'] = "37";
$age['Joe'] = "43";

The named keys can then be used in a script:

Example

<?php
$age = array("Peter"=>"35", "Ben"=>"37", "Joe"=>"43");
echo "Peter is " . $age['Peter'] . " years old.";
?>
Try it Yourself »

Loop Through an Associative Array

To loop through and print all the values of an associative array, you could use a foreach loop, like this:

Example

<?php
$age = array("Peter"=>"35", "Ben"=>"37", "Joe"=>"43");

foreach($age as $x => $x_value) {
    echo "Key=" . $x . ", Value=" . $x_value;
    echo "<br>";
}
?>
Try it Yourself »

Multidimensional Arrays

Multidimensional arrays will be explained in the PHP advanced section.


Complete PHP Array Reference

For a complete reference of all array functions, go to our complete PHP Array Reference.

The reference contains a brief description, and examples of use, for each function!


PHP Exercises

Test Yourself With Exercises

Exercise:

Use the correct function to output the number of items in an array.

$fruits = array("Apple", "Banana", "Orange");
echo ;