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Array vs. Structure: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Published on February 28, 2024
An array is a collection of elements of the same type placed in contiguous memory locations, while a structure is a user-defined data type that groups different types of data.
Array vs. Structure

Key Differences

An Array is a data structure consisting of a collection of elements, each identified by an array index. A Structure is a complex data type that allows the combination of data items of different kinds.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 28, 2024
Arrays are used to store multiple values of the same type in a single variable, facilitating easy access and manipulation using indices. Structures, on the other hand, are used to represent a record, like a student's record, combining various data types, such as strings, integers, and floats.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 28, 2024
In an Array, all elements must be of the same type, for example, an array of integers or an array of characters. In contrast, a Structure can store multiple data types; for instance, a structure can have an integer, a string, and a float simultaneously.
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Arrays are particularly useful when dealing with a large number of data items that are of the same type, thereby offering efficient ways to organize and process data linearly. Structures provide a means of packing together different types of data elements, making it more suitable for modeling complex data.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 28, 2024
Memory allocation in an Array is static and contiguous, meaning it's fixed at compile time, and elements are stored in consecutive memory locations. Structures have a more flexible memory allocation, allowing various types of data to be stored in non-contiguous memory locations.
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Comparison Chart

Data Type Uniformity

Homogeneous (same type)
Heterogeneous (different types)
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Usage

Storing multiple values of the same type
Combining different data types
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Memory Allocation

Contiguous and static
Non-contiguous and flexible
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Indexing

Accessed via indices
Accessed via named fields
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Suitability

Efficient for linear data handling
Suitable for complex data modeling
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Array and Structure Definitions

Array

Each element in an array is indexed;
She accessed the third element of the array.
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Structure

Structures are user-defined data types;
He created a structure for employee records.
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Array

To set out for display or use; place in an orderly arrangement
Arrayed the whole regiment on the parade ground.
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Structure

A structure groups different types of data;
The structure contained both a name string and an age integer.
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Array

To dress, especially in fine clothes; adorn.
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Structure

Structures allow a mix of data types;
Her structure combined dates, texts, and numbers.
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Array

An orderly, often imposing arrangement
An array of royal jewels.
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Structure

Structures have named fields for different data;
Access the 'salary' field of the structure.
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Array

An impressively large number, as of persons or objects
An array of heavily armed troops.
An array of spare parts.
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Structure

Structures are useful for modeling real-world entities;
Structures make it easy to represent a book in code.
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Array

Splendid attire; fine clothing.
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Structure

Something made up of a number of parts that are held or put together in a particular way
Hierarchical social structure.
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Array

A rectangular arrangement of quantities in rows and columns, as in a matrix.
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Structure

The way in which parts are arranged or put together to form a whole; makeup
Triangular in structure.
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Array

Numerical data linearly ordered by magnitude.
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Structure

The interrelation or arrangement of parts in a complex entity
Political structure.
Plot structure.
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Array

An arrangement of usually identical devices, often sensors, that function as a unit
An array of solar panels.
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Structure

Something constructed, such as a building.
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Array

(Computers) A group of memory elements accessed by one or more indices.
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Structure

The arrangement or formation of the tissues, organs, or other parts of an organism.
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Array

Clothing and ornamentation.
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Structure

An organ or other part of an organism.
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Array

7, Laws N21|url=http://www.joe-offer.com/folkinfo/songs/129.html|passage=Sovay, Sovay all on a day, She dressed herself in man's array, With a sword and a pistol all by her side, To meet her true love to meet her true love away did ride.}}
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Structure

To give form or arrangement to
Structure a curriculum.
Structure one's day.
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Array

A collection laid out to be viewed in full.
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Structure

A cohesive whole built up of distinct parts.
The birds had built an amazing structure out of sticks and various discarded items.
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Array

An orderly series, arrangement or sequence.
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Structure

The underlying shape of a solid.
He studied the structure of her face.
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Array

Order; a regular and imposing arrangement; disposition in regular lines; hence, order of battle.
Drawn up in battle array
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Structure

The overall form or organization of something.
The structure of a sentence.
The structure of the society was still a mystery.
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Array

A large collection.
We offer a dazzling array of choices.
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Structure

A set of rules defining behaviour.
For some, the structure of school life was oppressive.
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Array

(mathematics) Common name for matrix.
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Structure

(computing) Several pieces of data treated as a unit.
This structure contains both date and timezone information.
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Array

(programming) Any of various data structures designed to hold multiple elements of the same type; especially, a data structure that holds these elements in adjacent memory locations so that they may be retrieved using numeric indices.
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Structure

Underwater terrain or objects (such as a dead tree or a submerged car) that tend to attract fish
There's lots of structure to be fished along the west shore of the lake; the impoundment submerged a town there when it was built.
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Array

(legal) A ranking or setting forth in order, by the proper officer, of a jury as impanelled in a cause; the panel itself; or the whole body of jurors summoned to attend the court.
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Structure

A body, such as a political party, with a cohesive purpose or outlook.
The South African leader went off to consult with the structures.
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Array

(military) A militia.
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Structure

(logic) A set along with a collection of finitary functions and relations.
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Array

A group of hedgehogs.
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Structure

(transitive) To give structure to; to arrange.
I'm trying to structure my time better so I'm not always late.
I've structured the deal to limit the amount of money we can lose.
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Array

A microarray.
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Structure

The act of building; the practice of erecting buildings; construction.
His son builds on, and never is contentTill the last farthing is in structure spent.
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Array

To clothe and ornament; to adorn or attire.
He was arrayed in his finest robes and jewels.
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Structure

Manner of building; form; make; construction.
Want of insight into the structure and constitution of the terraqueous globe.
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Array

To lay out in an orderly arrangement; to deploy or marshal.
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Structure

Arrangement of parts, of organs, or of constituent particles, in a substance or body; as, the structure of a rock or a mineral; the structure of a sentence.
It [basalt] has often a prismatic structure.
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Array

(legal) To set in order, as a jury, for the trial of a cause; that is, to call them one at a time.
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Structure

Manner of organization; the arrangement of the different tissues or parts of animal and vegetable organisms; as, organic structure, or the structure of animals and plants; cellular structure.
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Array

Order; a regular and imposing arrangement; disposition in regular lines; hence, order of battle; as, drawn up in battle array.
Wedged together in the closest array.
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Structure

That which is built; a building; esp., a building of some size or magnificence; an edifice.
There stands a structure of majestic frame.
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Array

The whole body of persons thus placed in order; an orderly collection; hence, a body of soldiers.
A gallant array of nobles and cavaliers.
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Structure

A thing constructed; a complex construction or entity;
The structure consisted of a series of arches
She wore her hair in an amazing construction of whirls and ribbons
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Array

An imposing series of things.
Their long array of sapphire and of gold.
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Structure

The manner of construction of something and the arrangement of its parts;
Artists must study the structure of the human body
The structure of the benzene molecule
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Array

Dress; garments disposed in order upon the person; rich or beautiful apparel.
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Structure

The complex composition of knowledge as elements and their combinations;
His lectures have no structure
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Array

A ranking or setting forth in order, by the proper officer, of a jury as impaneled in a cause.
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Structure

A particular complex anatomical structure;
He has good bone structure
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Array

To place or dispose in order, as troops for battle; to marshal.
By torch and trumpet fast arrayed,Each horseman drew his battle blade.
These doubts will be arrayed before their minds.
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Structure

The people in a society considered as a system organized by a characteristic pattern of relationships;
The social organization of England and America is very different
Sociologists have studied the changing structure of the family
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Array

To deck or dress; to adorn with dress; to cloth to envelop; - applied esp. to dress of a splendid kind.
Pharaoh . . . arrayed him in vestures of fine linen.
In gelid caves with horrid gloom arrayed.
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Structure

Give a structure to;
I need to structure my days
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Array

To set in order, as a jury, for the trial of a cause; that is, to call them man by man.
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Array

An orderly arrangement;
An array of troops in battle order
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Array

An impressive display;
It was a bewildering array of books
His tools were in an orderly array on the basement wall
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Array

Especially fine or decorative clothing
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Array

An arrangement of aerials spaced to give desired directional characteristics
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Array

Lay out in a line
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Array

Align oneself with a group or a way of thinking
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Array

An array is a collection of similar data elements;
The array stored all the student grades.
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Jan 18, 2024

Array

An array uses contiguous memory allocation;
Arrays enhance performance due to their memory structure.
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Array

Arrays have a fixed size;
Once declared, the size of the array cannot be changed.
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Array

All elements in an array are of the same type;
The integer array can only store integers.
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

What is an array in programming?

An array is a collection of elements of the same type.
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Are arrays fixed in size?

Yes, arrays have a fixed size once declared.
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Can structures contain arrays?

Yes, structures can include arrays as fields.
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What types of data can a structure hold?

Structures can hold various data types, like int, float, char.
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What is a structure in programming?

A structure is a user-defined data type grouping different types.
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How are arrays indexed?

Arrays are indexed numerically, starting from 0.
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Are arrays faster than structures?

Arrays can be faster due to contiguous memory allocation.
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Feb 28, 2024

How is memory allocated for arrays?

Memory for arrays is allocated contiguously.
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How are elements in a structure accessed?

Elements in a structure are accessed by their names.
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Can structures contain functions?

In some languages, like C++, structures can have functions.
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What is the length of an array?

The length of an array is the number of elements it can hold.
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Feb 28, 2024

Can arrays be multidimensional?

Yes, arrays can have multiple dimensions, like 2D or 3D.
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Do structures support inheritance?

In languages like C++, structures support inheritance.
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Is an array a primitive data type?

No, an array is a composite data type.
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Feb 28, 2024

Can arrays store different data types?

No, arrays can only store elements of the same data type.
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Feb 28, 2024

Are structures mutable?

Yes, the content of structures can be modified.
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How is a structure declared?

A structure is declared by defining its data fields.
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Can structures be passed to functions?

Yes, structures can be passed to functions as arguments.
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Can structures be nested?

Yes, structures can be nested within other structures.
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How do you initialize an array?

Arrays are initialized with a specified size and elements.
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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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