Arrays in C Programming

What is an Array in C Language?

An array in C Programing Language can be defined as number of memory locations, each of which can store the same data type and which can be references through the same variable name.

An array is a collective name given to a group of similar quantities. These similar quantities could be percentage marks of 100 students, number of chairs in home, or salaries of 300 employees or ages of 25 students. Thus an array is a collection of similar elements. These similar elements could be all integers or all floats or all characters etc. Usually, the array of characters is called a “string”, where as an array of integers or floats is called simply an array. All elements of any given array must be of the same type i.e we can’t have an array of 10 numbers, of which 5 are int and 5 are float.

Arrays and pointers have a special relationship as arrays use pointers to reference memory locations.

Declaration of an Array

Arrays must be declared before they can be used in the program. Standard array declaration is as

Here type specifies the variable type of the element which is going to be stored in the array. In C programming language we can declare the array of any basic standard type which C language supports. For example

In C Language, arrays starts at position 0. The elements of the array occupy adjacent locations in memory. C Language treats the name of the array as if it were a pointer to the first element This is important in understanding how to do arithmetic with arrays. Any item in the array can be accessed through its index, and it can be accessed any where from with in the program. So

variable m will have the value of first item of array height.

The program below will declare an array of five integers and print all the elements of the array.

Initializing Arrays

Initializing of array is very simple in c programming. The initializing values are enclosed within the curly braces in the declaration and placed following an equal sign after the array name. Here is an example which declares and initializes an array of five elements of type int. Array can also be initialized after declaration. Look at the following C code which demonstrate the declaration and  initialization of an array.

Performing operations on Arrays

Here is a program that will demonstrate the simple operations of the array.

Here is a more complex program that will demonstrate how to read, write and traverse the integer arrays

Copy one array into another

There is no such statement in C language which can directly copy an array into another array. So we have to copy each item separately into another array.

To summarize, arrays are provides a simple mechanism where more than one elements of same type are to be used. We can maintain, manipulate and store multiple elements of same type in one array variable and access them through index.

Multidimensional Arrays

In C Language one can have arrays of any dimensions. To understand the concept
of multidimensional arrays let us consider the following 4 X 5 matrix

Row number (i) Column numbers (j)
0 11 3 5 -9 -6
1 5 6 -8 7 24
2 -8 9 2 12 45
3 10 13 -10 4 5

Let us assume the name of matrix is x

To access a particular element from the array we have to use two subscripts on for row number and other for column number the notation is of the form X [i] [j] where i stands for row subscripts and j stands for column subscripts. Thus X [0] [0] refers to 10, X [2] [1] refers to 16 and so on In short multidimensional arrays are defined more or less in the same manner as single dimensional arrays, except that for subscripts you require two squire two square brackets. We will restrict our decision to two dimensional arrays.

Below given are some typical two-dimensional array definitions

The first example defines tables as a floating point array having 50 rows and 50 columns. the number of elements will be 2500 (50 X50).

The second declaration example establishes an array line of type character with 24 rows and 40 columns. The number of elements will be (24 X 40) 1920 consider the following two dimensional array definition int values [3] [4] = {1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. 11, 12, };

Here the first subscript stands for the row number and second one for column number. First subscript ranges from 0 to 2 and there are altogether 3 rows second one ranges from 0 to 3 and there are altogether 4 columns.

Alternatively the above definition can be defined and initialized as

Here the values in first pair of braces are initialized to elements of first row, the values of second pair of inner braces are assigned to second row and so on. Note that outer pair of curly braces is required. If there are two few values within a pair of braces the remaining elements will be assigned as zeros.

Here is a sample program that stores roll numbers and marks obtained by a student side by side in matrix

The above example illustrates how a two dimensional array can be read and how the values stored in the array can be displayed on screen.


  1. given a 5×5 array B of real values, Say
    3 2 -1 9 0
    0 1 5 6 7
    2 4 6 8 7
    -9 2 3 7 10
    -1 12 -3 -4 -5
    .using c programminmg language, write:
    1. a declaration for B
    2. An input Statement which will store the values
    3. A for-loop statement which computes the sum of its diagonal(TRACE) of the Matric B.
    4.a for statement which leaves the minimum value from B in a real variable named Bmin
    5.a function named TRACED which computes the trace of any nxn real array B, where n is less than 20.

  2. Please help me.
    write a program using string function that determine if the input word is a palindrome.A plindrome is a word that produce the same word when it is reversed.
    sample input/output dailog:

    enter a word:AMA
    reversed: AMA
    “it is palindrom”

    enter a word:STI
    “it is not a palindrome”

    i really need this in october 8,2008..tnx

  3. Write a program to perform the following
    a) Read in the data below
    b) Calculate and print to screen the total and average of each column
    c) Calculate and print to screen the maximum values in each column
    d) Calculate and print to screen the minimum values in each column
    To Submit

    6 -2
    5 -7
    5 -13
    50 8
    2 7
    3 3
    5 2

    • #include
      void main()
      char name[25];
      printf(“enter the name:”);

  4. hi…
    pls help me..about the c programming..
    create a program using 2 dimensional array and random nos..
    a bingo is 5×5.

    • The 2d array example in the `tutorial’ is syntactically incorrect.
      You need commas after the braces

      double array[4][4] = {
      { 1.2, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4 },
      { 1.2, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4 },
      { 1.2, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4 },
      { 1.2, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4 }

      Is correct C syntax. Hope this helps.

  5. please help.

    make a program that initiotalizes a 12 col and 12 row 2-2
    array to zero then allows the user to input any number between
    1 to 12 for the column and row it then “creates” the table on the 2d array
    and displays it

    *should trap all errors of nos. 1-12
    *allows users to repeat the program

    /*like a multiplication table*/

    i would appreciate this page if somebody helps me..thanks :)

  6. Help me to write a program to accept temperature entry in fahrenheit, convert it to celcius or vice versa.
    the program should also print the maximum and minimum of the temperature (°c of fahreiheit) entered.

  7. pls help me….
    write a program reads 5 no.s into an array and prints out the value of each & every number which has a value less than 10

    • #include

      using namespace std;

      int main(int argc, char *argv[])
      int a[5],i,value;
      printf(“Enter five numbers “);


      printf("The numbers less than ten are %d \n",a[i]);
      printf("This number is not less than ten \n ");


      return EXIT_SUCCESS;

  8. hi
    i need an xample program for matrices.fro xample take an 8*8 matrix having o and 1 comination elements if we see 0 element in the matrix then we need to display the row and column number of that element………………….(but not the address of that element.)

    i need an example program for matrices.for example take an 8*8 matrix having o and 1 combination elements if we see 0 element in the matrix then we need to display the row and column number of that element………………….(but not the address of that element.)
    PLZZZZZ give the answer……………………..

  10. Find the difference of two 2×2 matrics (A and B) input from keyboard and put the results in matrics C and display result. İs anybody about know this program Just give me an example how can i solve?

  11. write a c program to answer inquiries about students data. The program should display a menu that enables a user to,
    1.View all students records
    2. View a student record by ID
    3.Show the highest and lowest final scores
    Enter your choice:_\

    123 10 40 5 55
    457 13 30 10 43
    234 15 25 20 60
    345 12 24 19 55


  12. Hello! Can Any body help me as soon as possible?

    I need the these programms in C Language

    Program No. 1

    Write a program to compute the wages of a daily laborer as per the following rules :-
    Hours Worked Rate Applicable
    Upto first 8 hrs Rs 50/-
    For next 4 hrs Rs 10/- per hr extra
    For next 4 hrs Rs 20/- per hr extra
    For next 4 hrs Rs 25/- per hr extra
    For rest Rs 40/- per hr extra
    Accept the name of the laborer and no. of hours worked. Calculate and display the wages.
    The program should run for N number of laborers as specified by the user.

    Program No. 2

    Define 2 dimensional array a (3,3), b(3,3),sum(3,3),diff(3,3),mult(3,3). Store 9 arbitrary
    numbers in a(3,3) and 9 arbitrary numbers in b(3,3).
    Do the following:
    a) Calculate sum of a(3,3) and b(3,3) and store in sum(3,3) where
    b) Calculate difference of a(3,3) and b(3,3) and store in diff(3,3) where diff(i,j)=a(i,j)-b(i,j)
    c) Calculate product of two arrays a(3,3) and b(3,3) and store in mult(3,3) where
    mult(i,j)= summation of a(i,k)*b(k,j) over k where k=1 to 3.
    Print the result in a tabular form

    Thanx in advance

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