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How to Create a Dynamic 2D Array Inside a Class in C++?

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  • Difficulty Level : Hard
  • Last Updated : 23 May, 2022
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A dynamic array is an array that can grow, resize itself, contains a dynamic table, which is mutable in nature, or an array list is randomly accessible, the variable-size list data structure that allows elements to be added or removed.

Suppose we want to create a class for Graph. The class stores the adjacency matrix representation of the graph.



// C++ program to demonstrate class of graphs
class Graph
  int V;
  int adj[V][V];  // This line doesn't work
  /* Rest of the members */
int main()

Output :

error: invalid use of non-static data
       member 'Graph::V'.

Even if we make V static, we get the error “array bound is not an integer constant”.

C++ doesn’t allow to creation of a stack-allocated array in a class whose size is not constant. So we need to dynamically allocate memory. Below is a simple program to show how to dynamically allocate a 2D array in a C++ class using a class for Graph with adjacency matrix representation. 


// C++ program to demonstrate
// how to allocate dynamic 2D
// array in a class using a Graph
#include <bits/stdc++.h>
using namespace std;
// A Class to represent directed graph
class Graph {
    int V; // No. of vertices
    // adj[u][v] would be true if there is an edge
    // from u to v, else false
    bool** adj;
    Graph(int V); // Constructor
    // function to add an edge to graph
    void addEdge(int u, int v) { adj[u][v] = true; }
    void print();
Graph::Graph(int V)
    this->V = V;
    // Create a dynamic array of pointers
    adj = new bool*[V];
    // Create a row for every pointer
    for (int i = 0; i < V; i++) {
        // Note : Rows may not be contiguous
        adj[i] = new bool[V];
        // Initialize all entries as false to indicate
        // that there are no edges initially
        memset(adj[i], false, V * sizeof(bool));
// Utility method to print adjacency matrix
void Graph::print()
    for (int u = 0; u < V; u++) {
        for (int v = 0; v < V; v++)
            cout << adj[u][v] << " ";
        cout << endl;
// Driver method
int main()
    // Create a graph given in the above diagram
    Graph g(4);
    g.addEdge(0, 1);
    g.addEdge(0, 2);
    g.addEdge(1, 2);
    g.addEdge(2, 0);
    g.addEdge(2, 3);
    g.addEdge(3, 3);
    return 0;

Output :

0 1 1 0 
0 0 1 0 
1 0 0 1 
0 0 0 1 

Note: memset() is used separately for individual rows. We can’t replace these calls with one call because rows are allocated at different addresses and making a memset call would be disastrous.


// Wrong!! (Rows of matrix at different addresses)
memset(adj, false, V*V*sizeof(bool));

This article is contributed by Dheeraj Gupta. Please write comments if you find anything incorrect, or if you want to share more information about the topic discussed above.

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