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array_rand — Returns one or more keys at random from an array.


mixed array_rand(array[, num_elements]);
array array: Array from which to pick random elements
int num_elements (optional): Number of elements to pick at random


Key or array of keys of random elements of an array; NULL on failure


This function selects num_elements elements at random from the array given by array and returns their keys as elements in a new array. If num_elements is 1 or omitted, a single key is returned. Otherwise, an indexed array is returned; the selected keys are the element values in the returned array.

Since array_rand() internally uses the rand() function, you should use srand() before calling array_rand() to ensure the greatest possible randomness.


PHP 4 since 4.0.0

See also

See also rand() , srand() , shuffle()


Example 29. Select random elements from an array

$array_1 = array('one' => 'Dave', 
                 'two' => 'Piia', 
                 'three' => 'Leigh', 
                 'four' => 'Adam', 
                 'five' => 'Leigh');

Output (just an example; random results will be different):
    [0] => one
    [1] => four

PHP Functions Essential Reference. Copyright © 2002 by New Riders Publishing (Authors: Zak Greant, Graeme Merrall, Torben Wilson, Brett Michlitsch). This material may be distributed only subject to the terms and conditions set forth in the Open Publication License, v1.0 or later (the latest version is presently available at The authors of this book have elected not to choose any options under the OPL. This online book was obtained from and is designed to provide information about the PHP programming language, focusing on PHP version 4.0.4 for the most part. The information is provided on an as-is basis, and no warranty or fitness is implied. All persons and entities shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss or damage arising from the information contained in this book.

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