Sep 30, 2009

[Java] For-Each Loop

Have you ever worried of using an Iterator to navigate thro' a collection object ?

Here after there is no need to use Iterator , Enumerator & Blah…Blah Classes to Go through a collection Object.

The New For Loop in JDK 1.5 Uses the : Operator………

This simple FOR loop solves the problem.

For-each Loop


The basic for loop was extended in Java 5 to make iteration over arrays and other collections more convenient. This newer for statement is called the enhanced forfor-each (because it is called this in other programming languages). I've also heard it called the for-in loop. or

Use it in preference to the standard for loop if applicable (see last section below) because it's much more readable.

Series of values. The for-each loop is used to access each successive value in a collection of values.

Arrays and Collections. It's commonly used to iterate over an array or a Collections class (eg, ArrayList).

Iterable. It can also iterate over anything that implements the Iterable interface (must define iterator() method). Many of the Collections classes (eg, ArrayList) implement Iterable, which makes the for-each loop very useful. You can also implement Iterable for your own data structures.
General Form

The for-each and equivalent for statements have these forms. The two basic equivalent forms are given, depending one whether it is an array or an Iterable that is being traversed. In both cases an extra variable is required, an index for the array and an iterator for the collection.

For-each loopEquivalent for loop
for (type var : arr) {
for (int i = 0; i < arr.length; i++) {
type var = arr[i];
for (type var : coll) {
for (Iterator<type> iter = coll.iterator(); iter.hasNext(); ) {
type var =;

Example - Adding all elements of an array

Here is a loop written as both a for-each loop and a basic for loop.

double[] ar = {1.2, 3.0, 0.8};
int sum = 0;
for (double d : ar) { // d gets successively each value in ar.
sum += d;

And here is the same loop using the basic for. It requires an extra iteration variable.

double[] ar = {1.2, 3.0, 0.8};
int sum = 0;
for (int i = 0; i <>
Where the for-each is appropriate

Altho the enhanced for loop can make code much clearer, it can't be used in some common situations.
  • Only access. Elements can not be assigned to, eg, not to increment each element in a collection.
  • Only single structure. It's not possible to traverse two structures at once, eg, to compare two arrays.
  • Only single element. Use only for single element access, eg, not to compare successive elements.
  • Only forward. It's possible to iterate only forward by single steps.
  • At least Java 5. Don't use it if you need compatibility with versions before Java 5.

Start Transforming………

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