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(PHP 4, PHP 5, PHP 7, PHP 8)

array_randPick one or more random keys out of an array


array_rand(array $array, int $num = 1): int|string|array

Picks one or more random entries out of an array, and returns the key (or keys) of the random entries. It uses a pseudo random number generator that is not suitable for cryptographic purposes.



The input array.


Specifies how many entries should be picked.

Return Values

When picking only one entry, array_rand() returns the key for a random entry. Otherwise, an array of keys for the random entries is returned. This is done so that random keys can be picked from the array as well as random values. If multiple keys are returned, they will be returned in the order they were present in the original array. Trying to pick more elements than there are in the array will result in an E_WARNING level error, and NULL will be returned.


Version Description
7.1.0 The internal randomization algorithm has been changed to use the » Mersenne Twister Random Number Generator instead of the libc rand function.


Example #1 array_rand() example

= array("Neo""Morpheus""Trinity""Cypher""Tank");
$rand_keys array_rand($input2);
$input[$rand_keys[0]] . "\n";
$input[$rand_keys[1]] . "\n";

See Also

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User Contributed Notes 5 notes

12 years ago
If the array elements are unique, and are all integers or strings, here is a simple way to pick $n random *values* (not keys) from an array $array:

<?php array_rand(array_flip($array), $n); ?>
9 years ago
It doesn't explicitly say it in the documentation, but PHP won't pick the same key twice in one call.
3 years ago

* Wraps array_rand call with additional checks
* TLDR; not so radom as you'd wish.
* NOTICE: the closer you get to the input arrays length, for the n parameter, the  output gets less random.
* e.g.: array_random($a, count($a)) == $a will yield true
* This, most certainly, has to do with the method used for making the array random (see other comments).
* @throws OutOfBoundsException – if n less than one or exceeds size of input array
* @param array $array – array to randomize
* @param int $n – how many elements to return
* @return array
function array_random(array $array, int $n = 1): array
    if (
$n < 1 || $n > count($array)) {
        throw new

    return (
$n !== 1)
array_values(array_intersect_key($array, array_flip(array_rand($array, $n))))
        : array(
3 years ago
// An example how to fetch multiple values from array_rand
$a = [ 'a', 'b', 'c', 'd', 'e', 'f', 'g' ];
$n = 3;

// If you want to fetch multiple values you can try this:
print_r( array_intersect_key( $a, array_flip( array_rand( $a, $n ) ) ) );

// If you want to re-index keys wrap the call in 'array_values':
print_r( array_values( array_intersect_key( $a, array_flip( array_rand( $a, $n ) ) ) ) );
fulachan2 at gmail dot com
2 months ago
array_rand () takes a random value without ever being able to go back in its choice of random value.
A simple example:
I decide to mix an array of 10 entries to retrieve 3 values. This choice will give increasing and random values.

    $myarray = range(1,10);
    $pm = array_rand($myarray,3);     
    // $pm return array(0->0,1->6,2->8)

But if I decide to shuffle an array of 10 entries to get 10 entries, array_rand () will choose to assign a value to each return value and therefore the return array will not be random.

    $gm = array_rand($myarray,count($myarray));
    // $gm not random array(0->0,1->1,2->2,3->3,4->4,5->5,6->6,7->7,8->8,9->9)

The easiest way to have a truly random value:
either use array_rand () in a loop of 1 value at a time

$deg = range(-60,60);
$size = range(16,64);
$color = ["blue","red","green","pink","orange","purple","grey","darkgreen","darkkhaki"];
$i = 0;
$longueur = 10;
    printf("<span style='transform: rotateZ(%ddeg); display: inline-block;font-size: %spx; color:%s'>%s</span>",

}while($i < $longueur);

or simply use shuffle () to shuffle the array really randomly.
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