“Enhanced” for loops

index
INTERMEDIATE

The usual way to step through all the elements of an array in order is with a "standard" for loop, for example,

for (int i = 0; i < myArray.length; i++) {
    System.out.println(myArray[i]);
}

The so-called enhanced for loop is a simpler way to do this same thing. (The colon in the syntax can be read as "in.")

for (int myValue : myArray) {
    System.out.println(myValue);
}

The enhanced for loop was introduced in Java 5 as a simpler way to iterate through all the elements of a Collection (Collections are not covered in these pages). It can also be used for arrays, as in the above example, but this is not the original purpose.

Enhanced for loops are simple but inflexible. They can be used when you wish to step through the elements of the array in first-to-last order, and you do not need to know the index of the current element. In all other cases, the "standard" for loop should be preferred.

Two additional statement types, break and continue, can also control the behavior of enhanced for loops.

ADVANCED

The break and continue statements can be used with statement labels.