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The forEach() method executes a provided function once per array element.

Syntax

arr.forEach(callback[, thisArg])

Parameters

callback
Function to execute for each element, taking three arguments:
currentValue
The current element being processed in the array.
index
The index of the current element being processed in the array.
array
The array that forEach() is being applied to.
thisArg Optional
Value to use as this when executing callback.

Return value

undefined.

Description

forEach() executes the provided callback once for each element present in the array in ascending order. It is not invoked for index properties that have been deleted or are uninitialized (i.e. on sparse arrays).

callback is invoked with three arguments:

  • the element value
  • the element index
  • the array being traversed

If a thisArg parameter is provided to forEach(), it will be passed to callback when invoked, for use as its this value.  Otherwise, the value undefined will be passed for use as its this value. The this value ultimately observable by callback is determined according to the usual rules for determining the this seen by a function.

The range of elements processed by forEach() is set before the first invocation of callback. Elements that are appended to the array after the call to forEach() begins will not be visited by callback. If the values of existing elements of the array are changed, the value passed to callback will be the value at the time forEach() visits them; elements that are deleted before being visited are not visited. If elements that are already visited are removed (e.g. using shift()) during the iteration, later elements will be skipped - see example below.

forEach() executes the callback function once for each array element; unlike map() or reduce() it always returns the value undefined and is not chainable. The typical use case is to execute side effects at the end of a chain.

There is no way to stop or break a forEach() loop other than by throwing an exception. If you need such behavior, the forEach() method is the wrong tool, use a plain loop instead. If you are testing the array elements for a predicate and need a Boolean return value, you can use every() or some() instead. If available, the new methods find() or findIndex() can be used for early termination upon true predicates as well.

Examples

Printing the contents of an array

The following code logs a line for each element in an array:

function logArrayElements(element, index, array) {
  console.log('a[' + index + '] = ' + element);
}

// Notice that index 2 is skipped since there is no item at
// that position in the array.
[2, 5, , 9].forEach(logArrayElements);
// logs:
// a[0] = 2
// a[1] = 5
// a[3] = 9

Using thisArg

The following (contrived) example updates an object's properties from each entry in the array:

function Counter() {
  this.sum = 0;
  this.count = 0;
}
Counter.prototype.add = function(array) {
  array.forEach(function(entry) {
    this.sum += entry;
    ++this.count;
  }, this);
  // ^---- Note
};

var obj = new Counter();
obj.add([2, 5, 9]);
obj.count
// 3 
obj.sum
// 16

Since the thisArg parameter (this) is provided to forEach(), it is passed to callback each time it's invoked, for use as its this value.

If passing the function argument using an arrow function expression the thisArg parameter can be omitted as arrow functions lexically bind the this value.

An object copy function

The following code creates a copy of a given object. There are different ways to create a copy of an object, the following is just one way and is presented to explain how Array.prototype.forEach() works by using ECMAScript 5 Object.* meta property functions.

function copy(obj) {
  var copy = Object.create(Object.getPrototypeOf(obj));
  var propNames = Object.getOwnPropertyNames(obj);

  propNames.forEach(function(name) {
    var desc = Object.getOwnPropertyDescriptor(obj, name);
    Object.defineProperty(copy, name, desc);
  });

  return copy;
}

var obj1 = { a: 1, b: 2 };
var obj2 = copy(obj1); // obj2 looks like obj1 now

 

If the array is modified during iteration, other elements might be skipped.

The following example logs "one", "two", "four". When the entry containing the value "two" is reached, the first entry of the whole array is shifted off, which results in all remaining entries moving up one position. Because element "four" is now at an earlier position in the array, "three" will be skipped. forEach() does not make a copy of the array before iterating.

var words = ["one", "two", "three", "four"];
words.forEach(function(word) {
  console.log(word);
  if (word === "two") {
    words.shift();
  }
});
// one
// two
// four

Polyfill

forEach() was added to the ECMA-262 standard in the 5th edition; as such it may not be present in other implementations of the standard. You can work around this by inserting the following code at the beginning of your scripts, allowing use of forEach() in implementations that don't natively support it. This algorithm is exactly the one specified in ECMA-262, 5th edition, assuming Object and TypeError have their original values and that callback.call() evaluates to the original value of Function.prototype.call().

// Production steps of ECMA-262, Edition 5, 15.4.4.18
// Reference: http://es5.github.io/#x15.4.4.18
if (!Array.prototype.forEach) {

  Array.prototype.forEach = function(callback, thisArg) {

    var T, k;

    if (this === null) {
      throw new TypeError(' this is null or not defined');
    }

    // 1. Let O be the result of calling toObject() passing the
    // |this| value as the argument.
    var O = Object(this);

    // 2. Let lenValue be the result of calling the Get() internal
    // method of O with the argument "length".
    // 3. Let len be toUint32(lenValue).
    var len = O.length >>> 0;

    // 4. If isCallable(callback) is false, throw a TypeError exception. 
    // See: http://es5.github.com/#x9.11
    if (typeof callback !== "function") {
      throw new TypeError(callback + ' is not a function');
    }

    // 5. If thisArg was supplied, let T be thisArg; else let
    // T be undefined.
    if (arguments.length > 1) {
      T = thisArg;
    }

    // 6. Let k be 0
    k = 0;

    // 7. Repeat, while k < len
    while (k < len) {

      var kValue;

      // a. Let Pk be ToString(k).
      //    This is implicit for LHS operands of the in operator
      // b. Let kPresent be the result of calling the HasProperty
      //    internal method of O with argument Pk.
      //    This step can be combined with c
      // c. If kPresent is true, then
      if (k in O) {

        // i. Let kValue be the result of calling the Get internal
        // method of O with argument Pk.
        kValue = O[k];

        // ii. Call the Call internal method of callback with T as
        // the this value and argument list containing kValue, k, and O.
        callback.call(T, kValue, k, O);
      }
      // d. Increase k by 1.
      k++;
    }
    // 8. return undefined
  };
}

Specifications

Specification Status Comment
ECMAScript 5.1 (ECMA-262)
The definition of 'Array.prototype.forEach' in that specification.
Standard Initial definition. Implemented in JavaScript 1.6.
ECMAScript 2015 (6th Edition, ECMA-262)
The definition of 'Array.prototype.forEach' in that specification.
Standard  
ECMAScript 2017 Draft (ECMA-262)
The definition of 'Array.prototype.forEach' in that specification.
Draft  

Browser compatibility

Feature Chrome Firefox (Gecko) Internet Explorer Opera Safari
Basic support (Yes) 1.5 (1.8) 9 (Yes) (Yes)
Feature Android Chrome for Android Firefox Mobile (Gecko) IE Mobile Opera Mobile Safari Mobile
Basic support (Yes) (Yes) 1.0 (1.8) (Yes) (Yes) (Yes)

See also