What Is Array and Its Types in Data Structure?


Heather Bennett

An array is a fundamental concept in data structures that allows us to store and organize multiple elements of the same type. It is a container that holds a fixed number of elements, each identified by its index or position.

Types of Arrays:

There are several types of arrays, each with its own unique characteristics and use cases. Let’s explore some of the most commonly used types:

1. One-dimensional Array:

A one-dimensional array, also known as a linear array, is the simplest form of an array. It consists of a single row or column of elements, which can be accessed using their index values. In this type of array, the elements are stored sequentially in memory.


Consider an array called “numbers” containing integers:

int[] numbers = { 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 };

In this example, we have defined an integer array named “numbers” with five elements. Each element can be accessed using its index value starting from 0 to 4.

2. Two-dimensional Array:

A two-dimensional array extends the concept of a one-dimensional array by adding another dimension. It is represented as a matrix or table consisting of rows and columns. Each element in the two-dimensional array is identified by its row and column index values.

Let’s consider a two-dimensional array called “matrix” representing a tic-tac-toe game board:

char[][] matrix = {
{ ‘X’, ‘O’, ‘X’ },
{ ‘O’, ‘X’, ‘O’ },
{ ‘X’, ‘O’, ‘X’ }

In this example, we have defined a character array named “matrix” with three rows and three columns. Each element represents the state (either ‘X’ or ‘O’) of a specific cell on the tic-tac-toe game board.

3. Multidimensional Array:

A multidimensional array is an extension of the two-dimensional array, allowing us to have more than two dimensions. It can be visualized as a three-dimensional cube or a higher-dimensional structure. Similar to a two-dimensional array, each element in a multidimensional array is identified by its index values.

Let’s consider a three-dimensional array called “cube” representing the colors of Rubik’s Cube:

String[][][] cube = {
{ “red”, “white”, “blue” },
{ “green”, “yellow”, “orange” },
{ “blue”, “red”, “yellow” }
{ “green”, “orange”, “white” },
{ “blue”, “yellow”, “red” },
{ “orange”, “green”, “white” }

In this example, we have defined a string array named “cube” with two layers, each having three rows and three columns. Each element represents the color of a specific sticker on Rubik’s Cube.


Arrays are powerful data structures that provide efficient storage and access to multiple elements of the same type. They come in various types, including one-dimensional arrays for linear storage, two-dimensional arrays for tables or matrices, and multidimensional arrays for higher-dimensional structures.

Remember to use the appropriate type of array based on your requirements and leverage their indexing capabilities to manipulate and retrieve data effectively. Arrays are widely used in programming languages for tasks ranging from simple data storage to complex algorithms like sorting and searching.

Now that you have a solid understanding of what arrays are and their different types, you can confidently apply this knowledge in your future coding endeavors!

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