Bubble Sort Algorithm

how to implement the bubble sort algorithm in C. This article shows a very clean implementation that is easy to understand

Last Reviewed and Updated on February 7, 2020
Posted by Parveen(Hoven),
Aptitude Trainer and Software Developer

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Sorting is done by comparing each element of a collection with another and swap the two so as to position them correctly. Various algorithms differ only in the strategy used to pick the elements to compare. The bubble sort algorithm is one of the easiest to understand and implement. That's why we have taken it for this chapter. But this algorithm is not the best, there are better options.

Bubble Sort Algorithm

The bubble sort algorithm takes the simplest path by comparing each of the adjacent elements. For example, it starts by comparing the first and second elements, and swapping them if necessary. Then the second and third elements are compared, and so on, till the last two are also compared and swapped if required. Passing: (definition)The processing of comparing and swapping each successive pairs of elements of an array or a colleciton. After the entire array has been passed, another passing is done, and these passings are repeated, and they stop only after a pass in which no swapping was required to be done.

Bubble Sort Step by Step Walkthrough

Suppose we have to sort the following array in increasing ascending order.

3, 0, 5, 7, 2

First compare 3 and 0 and swap them because 0 is smaller than 3. The array becomes

0, 3, 5, 7, 2

Next, 3 and 5 are compared. No swapping required because the ordering is correct. Similarly, 5 and 7 are compared, with no swapping required in this case also. Lastly, 7 and 2 are swapped and we get this array. The first pass is completed.

0, 3, 5, 2, 7

In the next pass, we again begin by comparing the first two elements - 0 and 3, followed by 3 and 5, and when 5 and 2 are compared, swapping is required, and we get this array

0, 3, 2, 5, 7

After this 5 and 7 are compared, and no swapping is required. This completes the second pass. This whole process continues till the entire array gets sorted.

0, 2, 3, 5, 7

C++ Program for Bubble Sort

This is how I implemented it. Of course there are other[and possibly better] implementations. But this one is easier to understand, and it has been completely explained in the video that you can find at the end of this page.

#include <iostream>
using namespace std;
void printArray(int arr[], int count)
    for(int i = 0; i < count; i++)
        printf("%d ", arr[i]);
bool swapIfLarger(int& x, int& y)
    if(x > y)
        int temp = x;
        x = y;
        y = temp;
        return true;
    return false;
int main()
    int arr[] = {3, 0, 5, 7, 2};
    cout << "Before bubble sort: ";
    printArray(arr, 5);
        bool bSwappingDone = false;
        for(int i = 0; i < 4; i++)
            if( swapIfLarger(arr[i], arr[i+1]) )
                bSwappingDone = true;
    cout << "After bubble sort: ";
    printArray(arr, 5);
    return 0;

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These videos can be run on 32-bit as well as 64-bit versions of the Microsoft Windows Operating Systems. Windows XP and all later OS are supported. If you want to run it on Windows XP and Windows Vista, then you must also have the .NET Framework Version 3.5 installed on your machines. Those users who have Windows 7 and later donot have to worry because these operating systems already have the .NET Framework installed on them.

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This Blog Post/Article "Bubble Sort Algorithm" by Parveen (Hoven) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Updated on 2020-02-07. Published on: 2015-10-05