Java Language Enums


Java enums (declared using the enum keyword) are shorthand syntax for sizable quantities of constants of a single class.


  • [public/protected/private] enum Enum_name { // Declare a new enum.
  • ENUM_CONSTANT_1[, ENUM_CONSTANT_2...]; // Declare the enum constants. This must be the first line inside of the enum, and should be separated by commas, with a semicolon at the end.
  • ENUM_CONSTANT_1(param)[, ENUM_CONSTANT_2(param)...]; // Declare enum constants with parameters. The parameter types must match the constructor.
  • ENUM_CONSTANT_1 {...}[, ENUM_CONSTANT_2 {...}...]; // Declare enum constants with overridden methods. This must be done if the enum contains abstract methods; all such methods must be implemented.
  • // Returns a String with the name of the enum constant.
  • ENUM_CONSTANT.ordinal() // Returns the ordinal of this enumeration constant, its position in its enum declaration, where the initial constant is assigned an ordinal of zero.
  • Enum_name.values() // Returns a new array (of type Enum_name[]) containing every constant of that enum everytime it is called.
  • Enum_name.valueOf("ENUM_CONSTANT") // The inverse of -- returns the enum constant with the given name.
  • Enum.valueOf(Enum_name.class, "ENUM_CONSTANT") // A synonym of the previous one: The inverse of -- returns the enum constant with the given name.



Enums always extend java.lang.Enum, so it is impossible for an enum to extend a class. However, they can implement many interfaces.

Tips & Tricks

Because of their specialized representation, there are more efficient maps and sets that can be used with enums as their keys. These will often run quicker than their non-specialized counterparts.