C Arrays

An array is a collection of similar elements.

One variable => Capable of storing multiple values

The array is a data structure in C programming, which can store a fixed-size sequential collection of elements of the same data type.

For example, if you want to store ten numbers, it is easier to define an array of 10 lengths, instead of defining ten variables.

In the C programming language, an array can be One-DimensionalTwo-Dimensional, and Multidimensional


The syntax of declaring an array looks like this:

int marks[90];                    => integer array

char name[20];                    => character array or string

float percentile[90];             => float array

The values can now be assigned to marks array like this:



Note: It is very important to note that the array index starts with 0.

Accessing Elements

Elements of an array can be accessed using:

scanf(“%d”,&marks[0]);    => Input first value

printf(“%d”, marks[0]);      => Output first value of the array

Quick Quiz: Write a program to accept marks of five students in an array and print them to the screen.

Initialization of an array

There are many other ways in which an array can be initialized.

int cgpa[3]={9,8,8}         => Arrays can be initialised while declaration

float marks[]={33,40}
Arrays in memory

Consider this array:

Int arr[3]={1,2,3}      => 1 integer = 4 bytes

This will reserve 4×3=12 bytes in memory. 4 bytes for each integer.


62302      62306    62310                             {Array in Memory}

Pointer Arithmetic

A pointer can be incremented to point to the next memory location of that type.

Consider this example

int i = 32;
int *a = &i;    ==> a =87994 (address = 87994)
a++;            ==> now a = 87998

char a = 'A';
char *b = &a;   ==> b = 87994
b++;            ==> now b = 87995

float i = 1.7;
float*a = &i;   ==> Address of i or a = 87994
a++;            ==> Now a = 87998

Following operations can be performed on pointers:

  1. Addition of a number to a pointer.
  2. Subtraction of a number from a pointer
  3. Subtraction of one pointer from another
  4. Comparison of two pointer variables

Quick Quiz: Try these operations on another variable by creating pointers in a separate program. Demonstrate all four operations.

Accessing arrays using pointers

Consider this array,


If ptr points to index 0, ptr++ will point to index 1 & so on…

This way we can have an integer pointer pointing to the first element of the array like this:

int * ptr = & arr[0];         => or simply arr


*ptr   => will have 9 as it’s value
Passing arrays to functions

Arrays can be passed to the functions like this

printArray(arr,n);                                  => function call

void printarray(int *i,int n);                   => function prototype


void printarray(int i[] ,int n);
Multidimensional arrays

An array can be of 2 dimension / 3 dimension / n dimensions.

A 2-dimensional array can be defined as:

int arr [3][2] ={

We can access the elements of this array as arr [0] [0], arr [0] [1] & so on…

At arr [0] [0] value would be 1 and at arr [0] [1] value would be 4.

2-D arrays in Memory

 A 2-d array like a 1-d array is stored in contiguous memory blocks like this:

2d arrary

Quick Quiz: Create a 2-d array by taking input from the user. Write a display function to print the content of this 2-d array on the screen.


int myArray[5];
int n = 0;

// Initializing elements of array seperately
  myArray[n] = n;

int a = myArray[3]; // Assigning 3rd element of array value to integer 'a'.

Exercise on Array

  1. Create an array of 10 numbers. Verify using pointer arithmetic that (ptr+2) points to the third element where ptr is a pointer pointing to the first element of the array.
  2. If S[3] is a 1-D array of integers, then *(S+3) refers to the third element:
  • True
  • False
  • Depends
  1. Write a program to create an array of 10 integers and store a multiplication table of 5 in it.
  2. Repeat problem 3 for a general input provided by the user using scanf()
  3. Write a program containing a function that reverses the array passed to it.
  4. Write a program containing functions that counts the number of positive integers in an array.
  5. Create an array of size 3×10 containing multiplication tables of the numbers 2,7 and 9, respectively.
  6. Repeat problem 7 for a custom input given by the user.
  7. Create a three-dimensional array and print the address of its elements in increasing order.

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