Sometimes you may need to take an array and apply some procedure to its elements so that you get a new array with modified elements.

Instead of manually iterating over the array using a loop, you can simply use the built-in Array.map() method.

The Array.map() method allows you to iterate over an array and modify its elements using a callback function. The callback function will then be executed on each of the array's elements.

For example, suppose you have the following array element:

let arr = [3, 4, 5, 6];
A simple JavaScript array

Now imagine you are required to multiply each of the array's elements by 3. You might consider using a for loop as follows:

let arr = [3, 4, 5, 6];

for (let i = 0; i < arr.length; i++){
  arr[i] = arr[i] * 3;
}

console.log(arr); // [9, 12, 15, 18]
Iterate over an array using for loop

But you can actually use the Array.map() method to achieve the same result. Here's an example:

let arr = [3, 4, 5, 6];

let modifiedArr = arr.map(function(element){
    return element *3;
});

console.log(modifiedArr); // [9, 12, 15, 18]
Iterate over an array using map() method

The Array.map() method is commonly used to apply some changes to the elements, whether multiplying by a specific number as in the code above, or doing any other operations that you might require for your application.

How to use map() over an array of objects

For example, you may have an array of objects that stores firstName and lastName values of your friends as follows:

let users = [
  {firstName : "Susan", lastName: "Steward"},
  {firstName : "Daniel", lastName: "Longbottom"},
  {firstName : "Jacob", lastName: "Black"}
];

An array of objects

You can use the map() method to iterate over the array and join the values of  firstName and lastName as follows:

let users = [
  {firstName : "Susan", lastName: "Steward"},
  {firstName : "Daniel", lastName: "Longbottom"},
  {firstName : "Jacob", lastName: "Black"}
];

let userFullnames = users.map(function(element){
    return `${element.firstName} ${element.lastName}`;
})

console.log(userFullnames);
// ["Susan Steward", "Daniel Longbottom", "Jacob Black"]
Use map() method to iterate over an array of objects

The map() method passes more than just an element. Let's see all arguments passed by map() to the callback function.

The complete map() method syntax

The syntax for the map() method is as follows:

arr.map(function(element, index, array){  }, this);

The callback function() is called on each array element, and the map() method always passes the current element, the index of the current element, and the whole array object to it.

The this argument will be used inside the callback function. By default, its value is undefined . For example, here's how to change the this value to the number 80:

let arr = [2, 3, 5, 7]

arr.map(function(element, index, array){
	console.log(this) // 80
}, 80);
Assigning number value to map() method this argument

You can also test the other arguments using console.log() if you're interested:

let arr = [2, 3, 5, 7]

arr.map(function(element, index, array){
    console.log(element);
    console.log(index);
    console.log(array);
    return element;
}, 80);
Logging the arguments to see the values

And that's all you need to know about the Array.map() method. Most often, you will only use the element argument inside the callback function while ignoring the rest. That's what I usually do in my daily projects :)

Thanks for reading this tutorial

You may also be interested in other JavaScript tutorials that I've written, including how to sum an array of objects and methods to find a palindrome string. They are some of the most commonly asked JavaScript problems to solve.

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