Difference Between a Jagged Array and a Multi-Dimensional Array in C#

  1. Jagged Arrays in C
  2. Multi-Dimensional Arrays in C
  3. Jagged Arrays vs Multi-Dimensional Arrays in C

This tutorial will discuss the differences and similarities between a jagged array and a multi-dimensional array in C#.

Jagged Arrays in C

A jagged array is an array of arrays in C#. It can constitute arrays of different sizes in it. The following code example shows us how we can declare a jagged array in C#.

namespace jagged_array_vs_multidimensional_array
{
    class Program
    {
        static void Main(string[] args)
        {
            int[][] jaggedArray = new int[3][];
            jaggedArray[0] = new int [1];
            jaggedArray[1] = new int[2];
            jaggedArray[2] = new int[3];
        }
    }
}

In the above code, we created the jagged array jaggedArray of size 3, which means that the jaggedArray is an array of 3 arrays. These 3 arrays are at the index 0, 1, and 2 of the jaggedArray. It is clear from the example that all these arrays are of different sizes.

Multi-Dimensional Arrays in C

A Multi-dimensional array is a rectangular array in C#. It can only have a fixed number of elements in each dimension. The following code example shows us how we can declare a multi-dimensional array in C#.

namespace jagged_array_vs_multidimensional_array
{
    class Program
    {
        static void Main(string[] args)
        {
            int[,] mArray = new[3,3]
        }
    }
}

In the above code, we created the multi-dimensional array mArray with the size 3,3, which means that it has three inner arrays and each of which has a size of 3 elements.

Jagged Arrays vs Multi-Dimensional Arrays in C

The jagged arrays should be preferred over the conventional multi-dimensional arrays because of their flexibility in C#. For example, if we have to store a person’s hobbies, the preferred approach would be to use a jagged array because not everyone has the same number of hobbies. The same thing goes for interests and many other things.

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