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8 Arrays in awk

An array is a table of values called elements. The elements of an array are distinguished by their indices. Indices may be either numbers or strings.

This chapter describes how arrays work in awk, how to use array elements, how to scan through every element in an array, and how to remove array elements. It also describes how awk simulates multidimensional arrays, as well as some of the less obvious points about array usage. The chapter moves on to discuss gawk’s facility for sorting arrays, and ends with a brief description of gawk’s ability to support true multidimensional arrays.

awk maintains a single set of names that may be used for naming variables, arrays, and functions (see User-defined). Thus, you cannot have a variable and an array with the same name in the same awk program.