Creating an Array Containing Values 1 to N in JavaScript

Mar 22, 2023

If, in JavaScript, you need an array with values from 1 to N, how do you do it? There's the good old for loop. But I used to do something like this:

  .map((_, i) => i + 1);

It works, but I don't like it. The fill method feels hacky to me. Luckily, there is a better way to do it using Array.from().

Array.from() takes an array-like value and returns an array:

Array.from("hello"); // ['h', 'e', 'l', 'l', 'o']

Surprisingly, passing an object with a length property also works:

Array.from({ length: 3 }); // [undefined, undefined, undefined]

This is equivalent to Array(3).fill().

But that's not all! We can also pass a map function as a second argument:

Array.from({ length: 3 }, (_, i) => i + 1); // [1, 2, 3]

Of course, you can modify the map function to do whatever you want. For example, you can list the power of 2:

Array.from({ length: 3 }, (_, i) => 2 ** i); // [1, 2, 4]

Counting from 0

What if we want to count from 0 instead of 1? We can use another approach and make the code even simpler:

[...Array(3).keys()]; // [0, 1, 2]

The three dots ... are the spread operator. t takes an iterable, an array in this case, and spreads it into a list of values.

Using it with React

I found myself using this technique a few times while working with React.

For example, when creating a loading skeleton:

function BlogSkeleton() {
  return (
      {[...Array(3).keys()].map((_, i) => (
        <PostSkeleton key={i} />

I could achieve the same result by writing PostSkeleton three times but sometimes you don't know beforehand how many items you need to render.

The future: Iterator.range

There's another option that feels more idiomatic to me. It's not available yet, it's currently at stage 2 of the TC39 process. It's called Iterator.range and it works like this:

[...Iterator.range(1, 4)]; // [1, 2, 3]

You can even add a step argument:

[...Iterator.range(1, 10, 2)]; // [1, 3, 5, 7, 9]

As I said, it's not supported by all browser yet. But you can learn more about it at the official proposal repository.