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How can I remove a specific item from an array?

Asked 11 years ago
Viewed 9.12 k times

I have an array of numbers and I'm using the .push() method to add elements to it.

Is there a simple way to remove a specific element from an array?

I'm looking for the equivalent of something like:

array.remove(number);

I have to use core JavaScript. Frameworks are not allowed.

asked 11 years ago

Correct Answer

Find the index of the array element you want to remove using indexOf, and then remove that index with splice.

The splice() method changes the contents of an array by removing existing elements and/or adding new elements.

const array = [2, 5, 9];

console.log(array);

const index = array.indexOf(5);
if (index > -1) {
  array.splice(index, 1); // 2nd parameter means remove one item only
}

// array = [2, 9]
console.log(array); 

The second parameter of splice is the number of elements to remove. Note that splice modifies the array in place and returns a new array containing the elements that have been removed.


For the reason of completeness, here are functions. The first function removes only a single occurrence (i.e. removing the first match of 5 from [2,5,9,1,5,8,5]), while the second function removes all occurrences:

function removeItemOnce(arr, value) {
  var index = arr.indexOf(value);
  if (index > -1) {
    arr.splice(index, 1);
  }
  return arr;
}

function removeItemAll(arr, value) {
  var i = 0;
  while (i < arr.length) {
    if (arr[i] === value) {
      arr.splice(i, 1);
    } else {
      ++i;
    }
  }
  return arr;
}
// Usage
console.log(removeItemOnce([2,5,9,1,5,8,5], 5))
console.log(removeItemAll([2,5,9,1,5,8,5], 5))

In TypeScript, these functions can stay type-safe with a type parameter:

function removeItem<T>(arr: Array<T>, value: T): Array<T> { 
  const index = arr.indexOf(value);
  if (index > -1) {
    arr.splice(index, 1);
  }
  return arr;
}
answered 10 months ago

Other Answer

Edited on 2016 October

  • Do it simple, intuitive and explicit (Occam's razor)
  • Do it immutable (original array stays unchanged)
  • Do it with standard JavaScript functions, if your browser doesn't support them - use polyfill

In this code example I use array.filter(...) function to remove unwanted items from an array. This function doesn't change the original array and creates a new one. If your browser doesn't support this function (e.g. Internet Explorer before version 9, or Firefox before version 1.5), consider polyfilling with core-js.

Removing item (ECMA-262 Edition 5 code AKA old style JavaScript)

var value = 3

var arr = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 3]

arr = arr.filter(function(item) {
    return item !== value
})

console.log(arr)
// [ 1, 2, 4, 5 ]

Removing item (ECMAScript 6 code)

let value = 3

let arr = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 3]

arr = arr.filter(item => item !== value)

console.log(arr)
// [ 1, 2, 4, 5 ]

IMPORTANT ECMAScript 6 () => {} arrow function syntax is not supported in Internet Explorer at all, Chrome before version 45, Firefox before version 22, and Safari before version 10. To use ECMAScript 6 syntax in old browsers you can use BabelJS.


Removing multiple items (ECMAScript 7 code)

An additional advantage of this method is that you can remove multiple items

let forDeletion = [2, 3, 5]

let arr = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 3]

arr = arr.filter(item => !forDeletion.includes(item))
// !!! Read below about array.includes(...) support !!!

console.log(arr)
// [ 1, 4 ]

IMPORTANT array.includes(...) function is not supported in Internet Explorer at all, Chrome before version 47, Firefox before version 43, Safari before version 9, and Edge before version 14 but you can polyfill with core-js.

Removing multiple items (in the future, maybe)

If the "This-Binding Syntax" proposal is ever accepted, you'll be able to do this:

// array-lib.js

export function remove(...forDeletion) {
    return this.filter(item => !forDeletion.includes(item))
}

// main.js

import { remove } from './array-lib.js'

let arr = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 3]

// :: This-Binding Syntax Proposal
// using "remove" function as "virtual method"
// without extending Array.prototype
arr = arr::remove(2, 3, 5)

console.log(arr)
// [ 1, 4 ]

Try it yourself in BabelJS :)

Reference

answered 11 years ago