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maxFind highest value


mixed max ( array $values )
mixed max ( mixed $value1 , mixed $value2 [, mixed $value3... ] )

If the first and only parameter is an array, max() returns the highest value in that array. If at least two parameters are provided, max() returns the biggest of these values.

Note: PHP will evaluate a non-numeric string as 0 if compared to integer , but still return the string if it's seen as the numerically highest value. If multiple arguments evaluate to 0, max() will return a numeric 0 if given, else the alphabetical highest string value will be returned.



An array containing the values.

Return Values

max() returns the numerically highest of the parameter values. If multiple values can be considered of the same size, the one that is listed first will be returned.

When max() is given multiple array s, the longest array is returned. If all the arrays have the same length, max() will use lexicographic ordering to find the return value.

When given a string it will be cast as an integer when comparing.


Example #1 Example uses of max()

echo max(13567);  // 7
echo max(array(245)); // 5

// When 'hello' is cast as integer it will be 0. Both the parameters are equally
// long, so the order they are given in determines the result
echo max(0'hello');     // 0
echo max('hello'0);     // hello

echo max('42'3); // '42'

// Here 0 > -1, so 'hello' is the return value.
echo max(-1'hello');    // hello

// With multiple arrays of different lengths, max returns the longest
$val max(array(222), array(1111)); // array(1, 1, 1, 1)

// With multiple arrays of the same length, max compares from left to right
// using lexicographic order, so in our example: 2 == 2, but 4 < 5
$val max(array(248), array(257)); // array(2, 5, 7)

// If both an array and non-array are given, the array
// is always returned as it's seen as the largest
$val max('string', array(257), 42);   // array(2, 5, 7)

See Also

  • min() - Find lowest value
  • count() - Count all elements in an array, or properties in an object

User Contributed Notes
dan at coders dot co dot nz
23-May-2010 06:29
max() on undefined parameters does not assume the value is zero, it ignores it.
= array('left' => -2);
// If $dimensions['right'] was never set,
// we may expect it to be treated as zero, but
print max($dimensions['left'], $dimensions['right']);
// Returns -2, not zero

print max(0+$dimensions['left'], 0+$dimensions['right']);
would be a work-around, but it's probably tidier to ensure your values are set correctly first.

(on PHP 5.2.11 anyway)
Alex Rath
10-Apr-2010 06:27
Notice that whenever there is a Number in front of the String, it will be used for Comparison.


('7iuwmssuxue', 1); //returns 7iuwmssuxu
max('-7suidha', -4); //returns -4


But just if it is in front of the String


('sdihatewin7wduiw', 3); //returns 3

grillen at abendstille dot at
02-Apr-2010 11:55
max only accepts not empty arrays.

if you work a lot with numerical arrays and with max, this function may come in handy:

if (!function_exists('emax')) {
emax($arr) {
        if (!
is_array($arr)) return call_user_func_array('max', func_get_args());
        if (
count($arr) == 0) return 0;
artem dot yagutyan at gmail dot com
27-Mar-2010 11:28
This Is Good Example: For max to min


function max_key($array) {
foreach (
$array as $key => $val) {
    if (
$val == max($array)) return $key;

$array = array(10, 2, 5, 7, 4,15,32,8,41,25);
$view."<br />"; //

41 // Max
2 //Min

11-May-2009 02:34
Note that max() can compare dates, so if you write something like this:

= array('2009-02-15', '2009-03-15');

you will get: 2009-03-15.
ries at vantwisk dot nl
09-Nov-2008 02:36
I had several occasions that using max is a lot slower then using a if/then/else construct. Be sure to check this in your routines!

Marcus Zacco
29-Sep-2008 04:47
This code loops through seven arrays and finds the highest average value within those arrays - and changes the font color for it. Great for highlighting.

The biggest take-away is this the row
if($average[$i] == max($average))

The number_format just rounds the numbers to 0 decimal points.

for ( $i = 0; $i <= 6; $i++) {
$num = $i+1;
$average[$i] == max($average)) {
"Value ".$num.": <font color='red'>".number_format($average[$i], 0, '.', '')." % </font<br>";
  } else {
"Value ".$num.": ".number_format($average[$i],0,'.','')." %<br>";


Value 1: 52 %
Value 2: 58 %
Value 3: 56 %
Value 4: 73 %
Value 5: 77 % <- this 77 is highlighted in red
Value 6: 71 %
Value 7: 75 %
henk at tobbe dot net dot au
16-Apr-2008 07:05
In a publication by WROX I noted a variant of the earlier "bound" function:

A parameter had to be between 1 and 3...

stuff at necr0manzer dot de
03-Mar-2008 07:11
mick at wireframe dot com's solution to finding the key for the highest value didn't work for me, so I wrote one myself:

function max_key($array) {
    foreach (
$array as $key => $val) {
        if (
$val == max($array)) return $key;

$array = array(1, 2, 5, 7, 4);
max($array); // 7
echo max_key($array); // 3

of course this also works with associative arrays, but it will only return a single result!
21-Feb-2008 05:56
A way to bound a integer between two values is:

function bound($x, $min, $max)
     return min(max($x, $min), $max);

which is the same as:

$tmp = $x;
if($tmp < $min)
    $tmp = $min;
if($tmp > $max)
     $tmp = $max;
$y = $tmp;

So if you wanted to bound an integer between 1 and 12 for example:

$x = 0;
echo bound(0, 1, 12).'<br />';
$x = 1;
echo bound($x, 1, 12).'<br />';
$x = 6;
echo bound($x, 1, 12).'<br />';
$x = 12;
echo bound($x, 1, 12).'<br />';
$x = 13;
echo bound($x, 1, 12).'<br />';

mick at wireframe dot com
30-Oct-2007 11:51
There are a couple of things you can do for cleaner code if you want the keys returned from the array. I am not sure how they each impact performance, but the visual readability is more beneficial for me -- your mileage may vary.

In the first example keys and max value is returned:

// First, let's pretend we have an array like this:
$Some_Array = array(
'john' => 40,
'susan' => 40,
'jane' => 24,
'michael' => 19,
'jimmy' => 38

max_extract($My_Array) {

$Max_Value = max($My_Array);
array_fill_keys(array_keys($My_Array, $Max_Value), $Max_Value);

// ! max_extract()

Or, if you are only interested in the keys and don't care what the max is:

function max_extract($My_Array) {

array_keys($My_Array, max($My_Array));
// You can also array_flip() this is you want them as keys
  // or if some other reason makes this relevant/needed.

} // ! max_extract()

There are many possible variations when using the search parameter of array_keys() along with other array functions.
07-Sep-2007 04:05
Or to take multiple maximum values into consideration:

function doublemax($mylist){
    $max_keys = array();
    return $max_keys;
joan dot codina at upf dot edu
14-Jul-2007 05:11
This is highly ineficient, but can be a bit better

function doublemax($mylist){
    return array(
michaelangel0 at mail.com
04-Jul-2007 10:00
Matlab users and others may feel lonely without the double argument output from min and max functions.

To have the INDEX of the highest value in an array, as well as the value itself, use the following, or a derivative:

function doublemax($mylist){
  return array(
jeremi23 at gmail dot com
14-Jun-2007 10:09
max on a an array with key/values

= array(1 => 5, 2=> 3);

this return 5, so the max is done on the values.
johnmott59 at hotmail dot com
17-May-2007 07:35
To find the maximum value from a set of 1-dimensional arrays, do this:

$d1 = array(450,420,440,430,421);
$d2 = array(460,410,410,430,413,375,256,411,656);
$d3 = array(430,440,470,435,434,255,198);

$t = max(max($d1),max($d2),max($d3));
// $t is 656

The inner max() functions operate on the arrays, the outer max compares the numeric results of the inner ones.
johnphayes at gmail dot com
02-May-2006 04:27
Regarding boolean parameters in min() and max():

(a) If any of your parameters is boolean, max and min will cast the rest of them to boolean to do the comparison.
(b) true > false
(c) However, max and min will return the actual parameter value that wins the comparison (not the cast).

Here's some test cases to illustrate:

1.  max(true,100)=true
2.  max(true,0)=true
3.  max(100,true)=100
4.  max(false,100)=100
5.  max(100,false)=100
6.  min(true,100)=true
7.  min(true,0)=0
8.  min(100,true)=100
9.  min(false,100)=false
10. min(100,false)=false
11. min(true,false)=false
12. max(true,false)=true
tim at (NOSPAM) dot crazynot2 dot com
08-Nov-2005 09:56
In response to the previous two posters (zher0 at netcarrier dot com & walkingmantis):

I was trying to do exactly what zher0 suggested; calculate the max value of a multi-dimensional array with variably sized 'sub-arrays'.  Here is a simple little function I came up with to do just that:

function multimax( $array ) {
// use foreach to iterate over our input array.
foreach( $array as $value ) {
// check if $value is an array...
if( is_array($value) ) {
// ... $value is an array so recursively pass it into multimax() to
            // determine it's highest value.
$subvalue = multimax($value);
// if the returned $subvalue is greater than our current highest value,
            // set it as our $return value.
if( $subvalue > $return ) {
$return = $subvalue;
        } elseif(
$value > $return) {
// ... $value is not an array so set the return variable if it's greater
            // than our highest value so far.
$return = $value;
// return (what should be) the highest value from any dimension.
return $return;

Please note that I have only performed very limited testing on this code -- be sure to check it thoroughly if you implement it somewhere!
nonick AT 8027 DOT org
17-Dec-2003 03:50
If you are working with numbers, then you can use:

    $a = ($b > $c) ? $b : $c;

which is somewhat faster (roughly 16%) than

    $a = max($b, $c);

I tested this on several loops using integers and floats, over 1 million iterations.

I'm running PHP 4.3.1 as a module for Apache 1.3.27.
mikhail_kovalev at mail dot ru
13-May-2003 11:32
Note that in version 4.0.3 (the only version I tested):

max (0, 0); // returns 0.
max (0, false); // returns 0.
max (false, 0); // returns false.
max (false, false); // returns false.

As a solution use this:

(int) max (false, 0); // returns 0.
(int) max (false, false); // returns 0.

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