Bootcamps

Explore our extensive collection of courses designed to help you master various subjects and skills. Whether you're a beginner or an advanced learner, there's something here for everyone.

Academy

Learn live

Join us for our free workshops, webinars, and other events to learn more about our programs and get started on your journey to becoming a developer.

Upcoming live events

Learning library

For all the self-taught geeks out there, here is our content library with most of the learning materials we have produced throughout the years.

It makes sense to start learning by reading and watching videos about fundamentals and how things work.

Full-Stack Software Developer - 16w

Data Science and Machine Learning - 16 wks

Search from all Lessons


LoginGet Started

Weekly Coding Challenge

Every week, we pick a real-life project to build your portfolio and get ready for a job. All projects are built with ChatGPT as co-pilot!

Start the Challenge

Podcast: Code Sets You Free

A tech-culture podcast where you learn to fight the enemies that blocks your way to become a successful professional in tech.

Listen the podcast
← Back to How to's
Edit on Github

How to use the Javascript Fill Method?

Written by:

Sometimes we need to fill an array with a specific value. There are many ways to do this, but the best and easiest way is to use the fill() Javascript method. In the following example, we use this method to fill an empty array with numbers.

1const numbers = [null, null, null, null, null]; 2 3const array1 = numbers.fill(5, 0, 3); 4console.log(array1); // output: [ 5, 5, 5, null, null ] 5 6const array2 = numbers.fill(7); 7console.log(array2); // output: [ 7, 7, 7, 7, 7 ]

In this example, we use the Javascript array fill() method to fill an array that contains null values with numbers. In the first array array1 we filled only the first three values from the index 0 to the index 3 with the number 5, in the second array array2 we filled the whole array with the number 7.

What is the Javascript fill method used for?

The Javascript fill method of arrays changes all the elements in an array to a static value and returns a new array with the new values. This method has many use cases for example, you can use it to clear the values of an array or to initialize an array or a two-dimensional matrix with default values. Basically, you can use this method whenever you want to change more than one of the elements of an array to a single specific value.

This method receives three parameters:

1array.fill(value, start, end)
  • value: this parameter is the value with which you want to fill the array, if this parameter is not passed the array will be filled with the value undefined, you can pass any type of data as a value, it can be a string, a number, an object, an array, etc...
  • start: this is the index at which to start filling the array (optional).
    • if this value is a negative number it starts from the array.length backwards.
    • if this value is greater than array.length none of the values in the array are changed.
  • end: this is the index at which to end filling the array (optional).
    • if this value is a negative number then it starts from the array.length backwards.
    • if this value is greater than array.length then the array.length value is used.

This is an example of how to use these three parameters:

1const arrayOne = [null, null, null, null, null]; 2 3const value = 5; 4const start = 1; 5const end = 4; 6 7const arrayTwo = arrayOne.fill(value, start, end); 8console.log(arrayTwo); // output: [ null, 5, 5, 5, null ]

Here we have an array filled with null values arrayOne and then we call the fill() method to fill this array with the number 5 starting at the index 1 and ending but not including the value at the index 4, this method returns the modified array which is store in the constant arrayTwo.

You'll have a better understanding of this method with these examples:

1console.log([0, 0, 0].fill(4)); // output: [ 4, 4, 4 ] 2console.log([0, 0, 0].fill(4, 1)); // output: [ 0, 4, 4 ] 3console.log([0, 0, 0].fill(4, 1, 2)); // output: [ 0, 4, 0 ] 4console.log([0, 0, 0].fill(4, 1, 1)); // output: [ 0, 0, 0 ] 5console.log([0, 0, 0].fill(4, 4, 5)); // output: [ 0, 0, 0 ] 6console.log([0, 0, 0].fill(4, 1, 9)); // output: [ 0, 4, 4 ] 7console.log([0, 0, 0].fill(4, NaN, NaN)); // output: [ 0, 0, 0 ] 8console.log([0, 0, 0, 0, 0].fill(4, -3, -1)); // output: [ 0, 0, 4, 4, 0 ] 9console.log(Array(5).fill(4, 1, 3)); // output: [ <1 empty item>, 4, 4, <2 empty items> ]

Is important to remember that the fill() method returns a reference to the original modified array as shown in the next example:

1const arrayOne = [null, null, null, null, null]; 2const arrayTwo = arrayOne.fill(2); 3 4console.log("Original: ", arrayOne); // output: Original: [ 2, 2, 2, 2, 2 ] 5console.log("Modified: ", arrayTwo); // output: Modified: [ 2, 2, 2, 2, 2 ] 6 7console.log(arrayOne === arrayTwo); // output: true

In this code, we create an array arrayOne with 5 null elements. Then we call the fill() method to fill all the elements in this array with the number 2 and store the result in the constant arrayTwo. After calling the fill() method both the original and the modified arrays have the same values, this is because the fill() method changes the values of the original array arrayOne and returns a reference to it which is store in the second array arrayTwo. So if you compare the two arrays the result will be true because they both store a reference to the original modified array.

Use cases of the Javascript fill method

The Javascript fill() method has multiple use cases, we'll see some of them in the next examples.

1. Initialized an array with elements

The fill() method can be used to initialize an array with elements by default.

1const numbers = Array(10).fill().map((_, index) => index + 1); 2 3console.log(numbers); // output: [ 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 ]

In this example, we use the fill() method together with the map() method to initialize an array with numbers. First, we create an array with 10 empty elements and then we call the fill() method to fill the array with 10 iterable elements. After that, we use the map() method to assign the index of each element plus one as its value. For example, the index of the first element is 0 plus one equals 1 so the value of the first element of the array will be 1, the index of the second element is 1 plus one equals 2 so the value of the second element will be 2, and so on with all the elements of the array.

This way to initialize an array with elements is especially important when you need to create an array with a massive amount of data, for example, the even numbers from 0 to 1000.

1const evenNumbers = Array(1000) 2 .fill() 3 .map((_, index) => index + 1) 4 .filter((num) => num % 2 === 0); 5 6console.log(evenNumbers); // output: [ 2, 4, 6, 8 ... 998, 1000 ]

This example works the same as the previous one only that it uses the filter() method to filter all the even numbers of the array, with the syntax num % 2 === 0.

2. Initialize an empty two-dimensional matrix

An interesting use for the Javascript fill() method is to initialize a two-dimensional matrix, for example, a matrix to play the game tic tac toe.

1const newMatrix = Array(3).fill(Array(3).fill(0)); 2console.log(newMatrix);

output: newMatrix

1[ 2 [ 0, 0, 0 ], 3 [ 0, 0, 0 ], 4 [ 0, 0, 0 ] 5]

In this example we want to create a two-dimensional matrix for the tic tac toe game. For this, we have to create an array with 3 empty values with the syntax Array(3) then we call the fill() method to fill these three values with three new arrays with empty values with the syntax Array(3).fill(Array(3)) and then we call the fill() method on each of this arrays with the value 0 to initialized the two-dimensional matrix for the game, we do this with the syntax Array(3).fill(0).

3. Create mock data

Another way you can use the fill() method is to create mock information in an array.

1const mockToDos = Array(10) 2 .fill({ task: "New Task", done: false }) 3 .map((prev, index) => { 4 return { id: index, ...prev }; 5 }); 6 7console.log(mockToDos);

output: mockToDos

1[ 2 { id: 0, task: 'New Task', done: false }, 3 { id: 1, task: 'New Task', done: false }, 4 { id: 2, task: 'New Task', done: false }, 5 { id: 3, task: 'New Task', done: false }, 6 { id: 4, task: 'New Task', done: false }, 7 { id: 5, task: 'New Task', done: false }, 8 { id: 6, task: 'New Task', done: false }, 9 { id: 7, task: 'New Task', done: false }, 10 { id: 8, task: 'New Task', done: false }, 11 { id: 9, task: 'New Task', done: false } 12]

In this example, we use the Javascript array method fill() to create mock data for a To-Do application. First, we create an array with 10 empty elements with the syntax Array(10) then we call the fill() method with an object as value, this object has an id property which is an increasing number also another property called task which is the task that you want to complete and finally the done property which indicates whether you have already completed the task or not.

Conclusion

We can use the Javascript fill() method for many things, to initialize an array with values, to change all the values in an array with a single value, to create mock data, to create random passwords, and many more, basically you can use this method anytime you need to fill an array with a specific value. This method can be used for many tasks not only the ones presented in this article if you want to know more about this method I recommend you to check the official Mozilla Javascript documentation.

πŸ”— You can check our website to learn about others methods like the array some method, how to find the interception of arrays and many others at 4Geeks How To's.