Fortran Wiki
array constructors

Initializing small 2D numeric arrays with array constructors

Intuitively, one might assume that if one wants to initialize a small array by rows that something like the following will work:

   integer :: xx(3,5)= [ 1, 2, 3, 4, 5], &
                       [10,20,30,40,50], &

or perhaps

   integer :: xx(3,5)= [ [ 1, 2, 3, 4, 5], &
                         [10,20,30,40,50], &
                         [11,22,33,44,55]  ] 

Someday something simpler might work, but currently the following syntax is required to specify the values in an intuitive row-column sequence using an array constructor:

   integer,save :: xx(3,5)= reshape([&

       1, 2, 3, 4, 5, &
      10,20,30,40,50, &
      11,22,33,44,55  &


This is because an array constructor can be used to create and assign values only to rank-one arrays. To define arrays of more than one dimension with an array constructor, you must use the RESHAPE(3f) intrinsic function.

Note that the ORDER= option on RESHAPE(3f) is used to allow the values to be specified in row-column order instead of the default behavior, which fills columns first.

Also note that if the expressions are of type character, Fortran 95/90 requires each expression to have the same character length (there is a common compiler extension that extends all strings to the length of the longest value specified, but depending on it reduces portability).

Printing small arrays in row-column format

When working with small arrays the issue that there is no default Fortran routine for printing an array in row-column order becomes apparent. So lets create a simple solution for integer arrays (PRINT_MATRIX_INT(3f)):

   program demo_array_constructor ! initializing small arrays
   implicit none
   integer,save :: xx(3,5)= reshape([&
       1, 2, 3, 4, 5, &
      10,20,30,40,50, &
      11,22,33,44,-1055  &

   call print_matrix_int('xx array:',xx)

   subroutine print_matrix_int(title,arr)
   implicit none
   character(len=*),parameter::ident= "@(#)print_matrix_int(3f) - print small 2d integer arrays in row-column format" 
   character(len=*),intent(in)  :: title
   integer,intent(in)           :: arr(:,:)
   integer                      :: i
   character(len=:),allocatable :: biggest

      write(*,*)trim(title)                                                 ! print title 
      biggest='           '                                                 ! make buffer to write integer into
      write(biggest,'(i0)')ceiling(log10(real(maxval(abs(arr)))))+2         ! find how many characters to use for integers
      biggest='(" > [",*(i'//trim(biggest)//':,","))'                       ! use this format to write a row
      do i=1,size(arr,dim=1)                                                ! print one row of array at a time
         write(*,'(" ]")')

   end subroutine print_matrix_int
   end program demo_array_constructor 


 xx array:
 > [  1,  2,  3,  4,  5 ]
 > [ 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 ]
 > [ 11, 22, 33, 44, 55 ]

We could do a more robust version that handles REAL and COMPLEX values as well as NaN values, but it has already been done. If you need to print a variety of small matrices see:

dispmodule(3f), "A Fortran 95 module for pretty-printing matrices".
Kristjan Jonasson, Department of Computer Science, 
School of Science and Engineering, University of Iceland, 
Hjardarhaga 4, 107 Reykjavik, Iceland (

Initializing a 2D array using DATA statements

Note that DATA statements are very flexible, and allow for perhaps the most intelligible way of specifying small arrays row by row. For example:

   ! fill rows using DATA statements
   integer,save,dimension(3,5) :: gg
   data gg(1,:)/  1,  2,  3,  4,  5 /  
   data gg(2,:)/ 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 /  
   data gg(3,:)/ 11, 22, 33, 44, 55 /

There are other ways to use a DATA statement to fill in row-column order, including use of the SIZE(3f) function and an implied-DO:

   ! use implied-DO so data can be declared in row-column order
   integer, dimension(3,5) :: ff
   DATA (( ff(J,I), I=1,size(ff,dim=2)), J=1,size(ff,dim=1)) / &
      01,02,03,04,05, &
      10,20,30,40,50, &
      11,22,33,44,55  /  

Initializing a 2D array from a vector using EQUIVALENCE

Sometimes instead of using RESHAPE(3f) you will see someone initialize a vector and then equivalence it to a multi-dimensional array; especially if the code has a reason to access the data as both a vector and a matrix:

   ! multi-dimensional row1, row2, .... by equivalence
   integer,parameter :: d1=3,d2=5
   integer           :: ee(d1,d2)
   ! note that the DATA statements could be used to initialize the array instead
   integer           :: e(d1*d2) =[1,10,11, 2,20,22, 3,30,33, 4,40,44, 5,50,55] 
   equivalence       (e(1),ee(1,1))


Remember that for simple initializations vector statements can be used

   real :: arr(10,20)=0.0
   ! array constructors can be used to define constants, not just vectors
   integer,parameter :: ii(10,10)=[(i,i=1,size(ii))] ! odd numbers using implied-DO

and that if things are too complicated you can just set the values in the executable body of the code.

   program test_random_number
   real :: r(5,5)
      call random_number(r)
   end program

Remember that a DATA statement does not require that all values be initialized, whereas an array constructor does; and that you cannot initialize values multiple times and be standard-conforming.

So be very careful when using DATA statements that you initialized everything you wanted to.