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Different ways of accessing array elements in C++

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In this article, two unique and different ways of accessing an element from an array rather than the conventional arr[i] expression are discussed below.

  • Using pointer *(arr+1)
  • Using a little manipulation i[arr] for using arrays and the reason behind that.

When a C++ program is compiled, a symbol table is generated simultaneously. It is formed to store the corresponding values of the address of all the variables used in the program.

Let us consider a C++ program and see what will the symbol table for the corresponding program:

C++

// C++ program for the above concepts
 
#include <iostream>
using namespace std;
 
// Driver Code
int main()
{
    // Assigning a value to a
    int a = 5;
 
    // Printing the value of a
    cout << "Value of a: " << a;
 
    // Printing the address of a
    cout << "\nAddress of a: " << &a;
 
    return 0;
}

                    

Output
Value of a: 5
Address of a: 0x7ffefad3072c


The symbol table for the program above would be like this:


 

Variable Name

Address 

Value

 a

0x7ffe58e7cc4

5


 

So, from the symbol table, it can be seen that every variable is assigned an address. Therefore, when the array is initialized, it also gets some address. In the table, an array gets stored in form of a pointer pointing towards the first element. 

The below example is another simplest way of accessing array elements in C++.

C++

#include <iostream>
using namespace std;
 
int main()
{
    double num[] = { 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 };
    double add = 0;
    double count = 0;
    double avg;
    cout << "The number is=";
 
    for (const double& n : num) {
        cout << n << " " <<endl;
 
        add += n;
 
        ++count;
    }
    cout << "Addition of numbers= " << add << endl;
    avg = add / count;
    cout << "average of numbers= " << avg << endl;
 
    return 0;
}

                    

Output
The number is=11 
12 
13 
14 
15 
16 
Addition of numbers= 81
average of numbers= 13.5

Example: 

int a[10]; 
gets stored like:
*(a) - which points to the first element.
*(a+1) - which points to second element.
Similarly we can have the last element pointed by *(a+(n-1)) we have (n-1) as arrays in C++ have zero based indexing

Using this concept let us discuss the first method of accessing the arrays- 

Using the concept of pointers

 Below is the C++ program to implement the above concept: 

C++

// C++ program to demonstrate the
// above approach
#include <iostream>
using namespace std;
 
// Driver Code
int main()
{
    int arr[10];
 
    // Conventional method
    // for(int i = 0; i<10; i++)
    //{
    // arr[i] = i+1;
    //}
 
    // Pointer Method
    for (int i = 0; i < 10; i++) {
        *(arr + i) = i + 1;
    }
 
    cout << "Values : ";
 
    for (int i = 0; i < 10; i++) {
        cout << *(arr + i) << ' ';
    }
 
    return 0;
}

                    

Output
Values : 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 

Fun Method:

As observed, an array can be used as *(arr). Therefore, it can be said that: 

As known, 
*(p + 1) is exactly the same as *(1 + p)
Therefore, *(arr + i) in above code can also be written as *(i + arr)
and basically *(arr + i) means a[i] implying, 
*(i + arr) can also be written as i[a]

Below is the C++ program to implement the above concept: 

C++

// C++ program to demonstrate the
// above approach
#include <iostream>
using namespace std;
 
// Driver Code
int main()
{
    int arr[10];
 
    // Conventional method
    // for(int i = 0; i<10; i++)
    //{
    // arr[i] = i+1;
    //}
 
    // Method 2
    for (int i = 0; i < 10; i++) {
        i[arr] = i + 1;
    }
 
    cout << "Values: ";
 
    for (int i = 0; i < 10; i++) {
        cout << i[arr] << ' ';
    }
 
    return 0;
}

                    

Output
Values: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 


Last Updated : 13 Apr, 2023
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