ArrayList in java with example programs – Collections Framework

Arraylist is a class which implements List interface. It is widely used because of the functionality and flexibility it offers. Most of the developers choose Arraylist over Array as it’s a very good alternative of traditional java arrays.

The issue with arrays is that they are of fixed length so if it is full we cannot add any more elements to it, likewise if there are number of elements gets removed from it the memory consumption would be the same as it doesn’t shrink. On the other ArrayList can dynamically grow and shrink as per the need. Apart from these benefits ArrayList class enables us to use predefined methods of it which makes our task easy. Let’s see the ArrayList example first then we will discuss it’s methods and their usage.

ArrayList Example in Java

import java.util.*;

public class ArrayListExample {
   public static void main(String args[]) {
      /*Creation of ArrayList: I'm going to add String
       *elements so I made it of string type */
	  ArrayList<String> obj = new ArrayList<String>();

	  /*This is how elements should be added to the array list*/

	  /* Displaying array list elements */
	  System.out.println("Currently the array list has following elements:"+obj);

	  /*Add element at the given index*/
	  obj.add(0, "Rahul");
	  obj.add(1, "Justin");

	  /*Remove elements from array list like this*/

	  System.out.println("Current array list is:"+obj);

	  /*Remove element from the given index*/

	  System.out.println("Current array list is:"+obj);


Currently the array list has following elements:[Ajeet, Harry, Chaitanya, Steve, Anuj]
Current array list is:[Rahul, Justin, Ajeet, Steve, Anuj]
Current array list is:[Rahul, Ajeet, Steve, Anuj]

Methods of ArrayList class

In the above example we have used methods such as add and remove. However there are number of methods available which can be used directly using object of ArrayList class. Let’s discuss few of the important methods.

1) add( Object o): This method adds an object o to the arraylist.


This statement would add a string hello in the arraylist at last position.

2) add(int index, Object o): It adds the object o to the array list at the given index.

obj.add(2, "bye");

It will add the string bye to the 2nd index (3rd position as the array list starts with index 0) of array list.

3) remove(Object o): Removes the object o from the ArrayList.


This statement will remove the string “Chaitanya” from the ArrayList.

4) remove(int index): Removes element from a given index.


It would remove the element of index 3 (4th element of the list – List starts with o).

5) set(int index, Object o): Used for updating an element. It replaces the element present at the specified index with the object o.

obj.set(2, "Tom");

It would replace the 3rd element (index =2 is 3rd element) with the value Tom.

6) int indexOf(Object o): Gives the index of the object o. If the element is not found in the list then this method returns the value -1.

int pos = obj.indexOf("Tom");

This would give the index (position) of the string Tom in the list.

7) Object get(int index): It returns the object of list which is present at the specified index.

String str= obj.get(2);

Function get would return the string stored at 3rd position (index 2) and would be assigned to the string “str”. We have stored the returned value in string variable because in our example we have defined the ArrayList is of String type. If you are having integer array list then the returned value should be stored in an integer variable.

8) int size(): It gives the size of the ArrayList – Number of elements of the list.

int numberofitems = obj.size();

9) boolean contains(Object o): It checks whether the given object o is present in the array list if its there then it returns true else it returns false.


It would return true if the string “Steve” is present in the list else we would get false.

10) clear(): It is used for removing all the elements of the array list in one go. The below code will remove all the elements of ArrayList whose object is obj.


7 comments… add one

  • R Pantera November 17, 2014, 3:36 AM

    Thank you very much for your Beginner’s Book. It is better than any other source I have found for a Java beginner. The examples are especially helpful. I wish you success.

    • Chaitanya Singh November 18, 2014, 4:50 AM

      Thanks for the appreciation. Glad you liked it.

  • Santosh January 9, 2015, 9:52 AM

    Hi ,
    The examples and concepts are explained very nicely and well organized.
    Thank you!!

  • Venkat March 27, 2015, 7:33 AM

    Hi sir! ur way of explanation awesome.this site is best for the java beginners .keep posting…

  • Rahul Raaj Jamuar March 31, 2015, 9:25 AM

    Thank you so much for posting these contents. The examples given here are best to understand any concept. Keep adding more examples. Thanks again :)

  • Abel April 9, 2015, 7:13 AM

    Friend,I am not able to Command Array List showing me error: The type ArrayList is not generic; it cannot be parameterized with arguments

    • Priya April 11, 2015, 7:55 AM

      I suspect you imported some different ArrayList class in your classpath.Try import java.util.ArrayList, and I’m sure it would certainly work. Check your Java version as well, ArrayList is not a legacy class so it might support from JDK 1.5


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