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6.5. Multidimensional Arrays

The array we used in the last example was a one dimensional array. Arrays can have more than one dimension, these arrays-of-arrays are called multidimensional arrays. They are very similar to standard arrays with the exception that they have multiple sets of square brackets after the array identifier. A two dimensional array can be though of as a grid of rows and columns.

Example 6-3. number_square.c

#include <stdio.h>

const int num_rows = 7;
const int num_columns = 5;

int
main()
{
  int box[num_rows][num_columns];
  int row, column;

  for(row = 0; row < num_rows; row++)
    for(column = 0; column < num_columns; column++)
      box[row][column] = column + (row * num_columns);

  for(row = 0; row < num_rows; row++)
    {
      for(column = 0; column < num_columns; column++)
        {
          printf("%4d", box[row][column]);
        }
      printf("\n");
    }
  return 0;
}
      

If you compile and run this example you'll get a box of numbers like this:

   0   1   2   3   4
   5   6   7   8   9
  10  11  12  13  14
  15  16  17  18  19
  20  21  22  23  24
  25  26  27  28  29
  30  31  32  33  34
     

The above array has two dimensions and can be called a doubly subscripted array. GCC allows arrays of up to 29 dimensions although actually using an array of more than three dimensions is very rare.

 
 
  Published under the terms of the GNU General Public License Design by Interspire