We can combine read with IFS (Internal Field Separator) to define a delimiter. No, you need not count them all. We can display the length of the whole array or any array element by using a special operator '#'. As if this was not complicated enough, with "declare -p", you do not get the type or the original variable. @nath declare -p is just a quick way to make bash print the real array (index and contents). When using arrays, one must know how many elements are present in the array. Print all elements, each quoted separately. Bash Array – An array is a collection of elements. In Bash, there are two types of arrays. Unlike in many other programming languages, in bash, an array is not a collection of similar elements. This is a pretty common problem in bash, to reference array within arrays for which you need to create name-references with declare -n.The name following the -n will act as a nameref to the value assigned (after =).Now we treat this variable with nameref attribute to expand as if it were an array and do a full proper quoted array expansion as before. By asking for indexes not in the array you either create an array with indexes missing, ie 0,1,3,6,7,9 This would then mean you have "holes" at positions - 2,4,5,8 and nothing in any index after 9 However, you create your array using the following: Execute the script. There are the associative arrays and integer-indexed arrays. Bash arrays have numbered indexes only, but they are sparse, ie you don't have to define all the indexes. The Bash provides one-dimensional array variables. As a quick example, here’s a data table representing a two-dimensional array. Since bash does not discriminate string from a number, an array can contain a mix of strings and numbers. With "declare -n" you can add a reference to another variable and you can do this over and over again. Example: bash documentation: Accessing Array Elements. Instead, bash provides a special operator who does all the work for us. Any variable may be used as an array; the declare builtin will explicitly declare an array. Since bash 4.3 it is not that easy anymore. In BASH script it is possible to create type types of array, an indexed array or associative array. echo "${array[@]}" Print all elements as a single quoted string Arrays are indexed using integers and are zero-based. You don't need this declare -p command in your real script. Arrays in Bash. Now the myarray contains 3 elements so bash split string into array was successful # /tmp/split-string.sh My array: string1 string2 string3 Number of elements in the array: 3 . 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