How to get only part of Array In Java

  • Post last modified:December 15, 2022
  • Reading time:3 mins read


Copying a portion of an array is a very common operation that every developer come across. In this article, we will see traditional imperative style and modern declarative style code with lambda and streams API.

Imperative Approach

  • Java has a deep route in imperative style programming. Hence for Java developers, it’s very natural to write the below code to copy a certain portion of an original array. Just iterating over elements and filtering out only elements that are needed and writing down to the final array.
 private static int[] copyArray(){
        int[] numbers = {1,2,3,4,5,6,7};
        int[] subArray = new int[numbers.length-3];
        int j =3;
        for (int i=0;i<subArray.length;i++){
            subArray[i] = numbers[j+i];
        return subArray;

Many of us often forget that there is a convenient method provided inside the java Arrays library for us copyOfRange. This method can be used to copy a portion of the array by supplying to and from the index.

private static int[] copyArray1(){
  int[] numbers = {1,2,3,4,5,6,7};
  int[] subArray = Arrays.copyOfRange(numbers,3,numbers.length);
  return subArray;

Declarative Approach

  • Since Java 8 and beyond we can conveniently use streams API to copy a portion of the array.
  • In the below code, we can are streaming int[] and only filtering out values that are greater than 3 and finally copying to the array.
private static void copyArray2(){
        int[] numbers = {1,2,3,4,5,6,7};
        // copy with values
        int[] subArray => a>3).toArray();
  • The above code is a copy part of an array based on values, but we can also copy based on an index. Below code we are streaming Intstream from i=0; i=len(array).
  • Generally in imperative code, we write for loop from a start index to an end index and iterate over each element. A similar thing we can do using Intstream and get access to the index element.
// copy with index
int[] subArray1 = IntStream
                .range(0, numbers.length)
                .filter(i -> i > 3)


Although the above method works, we have another approach where we can use AtomicInteger to copy part of an array. It has a method called getAndIncrement which essentially provides an index and increments it by 1.

// copy with index
AtomicInteger atomicInteger = new AtomicInteger();
int[] subArray2 = -> atomicInteger.getAndIncrement() > 3).toArray();


In this article, we discussed how can we copy part of the java array using imperative and declarative styles. I would prefer declarative style code as it makes my code more readable and less verbose.

Bonus Tip

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