Array.prototype.flat()

The flat() method creates a new array with all sub-array elements concatenated into it recursively up to the specified depth.

Syntax

flat()
flat(depth)

Parameters

depth Optional
The depth level specifying how deep a nested array structure should be flattened. Defaults to 1.

Return value

A new array with the sub-array elements concatenated into it.

Alternatives

reduce and concat

const arr = [1, 2, [3, 4]];

// To flat single level array
arr.flat();
// is equivalent to
arr.reduce((acc, val) => acc.concat(val), []);
// [1, 2, 3, 4]

// or with decomposition syntax
const flattened = arr => [].concat(...arr);

reduce + concat + isArray + recursivity

const arr = [1, 2, [3, 4, [5, 6]]];

// to enable deep level flatten use recursion with reduce and concat
function flatDeep(arr, d = 1) {
   return d > 0 ? arr.reduce((acc, val) => acc.concat(Array.isArray(val) ? flatDeep(val, d - 1) : val), [])
                : arr.slice();
};

flatDeep(arr, Infinity);
// [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]

Use a stack

// non recursive flatten deep using a stack
// note that depth control is hard/inefficient as we will need to tag EACH value with its own depth
// also possible w/o reversing on shift/unshift, but array OPs on the end tends to be faster
function flatten(input) {
  const stack = [...input];
  const res = [];
  while(stack.length) {
    // pop value from stack
    const next = stack.pop();
    if(Array.isArray(next)) {
      // push back array items, won't modify the original input
      stack.push(...next);
    } else {
      res.push(next);
    }
  }
  // reverse to restore input order
  return res.reverse();
}

const arr = [1, 2, [3, 4, [5, 6]]];
flatten(arr);
// [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]

Use Generator function

function* flatten(array, depth) {
    if(depth === undefined) {
      depth = 1;
    }
    for(const item of array) {
        if(Array.isArray(item) && depth > 0) {
          yield* flatten(item, depth - 1);
        } else {
          yield item;
        }
    }
}

const arr = [1, 2, [3, 4, [5, 6]]];
const flattened = [...flatten(arr, Infinity)];
// [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]

Examples

Flattening nested arrays

const arr1 = [1, 2, [3, 4]];
arr1.flat();
// [1, 2, 3, 4]

const arr2 = [1, 2, [3, 4, [5, 6]]];
arr2.flat();
// [1, 2, 3, 4, [5, 6]]

const arr3 = [1, 2, [3, 4, [5, 6]]];
arr3.flat(2);
// [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]

const arr4 = [1, 2, [3, 4, [5, 6, [7, 8, [9, 10]]]]];
arr4.flat(Infinity);
// [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]

Flattening and array holes

The flat method removes empty slots in arrays:

const arr5 = [1, 2, , 4, 5];
arr5.flat();
// [1, 2, 4, 5]

Specifications

Specification
ECMAScript (ECMA-262)
The definition of 'Array.prototype.flat' in that specification.

Browser compatibility

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See also