(PHP 4, PHP 5, PHP 7)

compactCreate array containing variables and their values


array compact ( mixed $varname1 [, mixed $... ] )

Creates an array containing variables and their values.

For each of these, compact() looks for a variable with that name in the current symbol table and adds it to the output array such that the variable name becomes the key and the contents of the variable become the value for that key. In short, it does the opposite of extract().


Before PHP 7.3, any strings that are not set will silently be skipped.



compact() takes a variable number of parameters. Each parameter can be either a string containing the name of the variable, or an array of variable names. The array can contain other arrays of variable names inside it; compact() handles it recursively.

Return Values

Returns the output array with all the variables added to it.


compact() issues an E_NOTICE level error if a given string refers to an unset variable.


Version Description
7.3.0 compact() now issues an E_NOTICE level error if a given string refers to an unset variable. Formerly, such strings have been silently skipped.


Example #1 compact() example

$city  = "San Francisco";
$state = "CA";
$event = "SIGGRAPH";

$location_vars = array("city", "state");

$result = compact("event", "nothing_here", $location_vars);

The above example will output:

    [event] => SIGGRAPH
    [city] => San Francisco
    [state] => CA


Note: Gotcha

Because variable variables may not be used with PHP's Superglobal arrays within functions, the Superglobal arrays may not be passed into compact().

See Also

  • extract() - Import variables into the current symbol table from an array

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