Nested While Loops in Java

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  • 0:03 What Is a Nested While Loop?
  • 0:26 Nested While Loop…
  • 1:13 Example
  • 2:16 Use of Break in Nested…
  • 2:49 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sudha Aravindan

Sudha has a Doctor of Education Degree and is currently working as a Information Technology Specialist.

How would you print out a chart to record scores for players in a basketball game? In Java, you can do this using a nested while loop. In this lesson, we'll explore how to use nested while loops in Java.

What Is a Nested While Loop?

A nested while loop is a while statement inside another while statement. In a nested while loop, one iteration of the outer loop is first executed, after which the inner loop is executed. The execution of the inner loop continues till the condition described in the inner loop is satisfied. Once the condition of the inner loop is satisfied, the program moves to the next iteration of the outer loop.

Basic Structure of Nested While Loop

Consider the code snippet of a nested while loop:

class NestedWhileLoop {
 public static void main(String args[]) {
  int outerLoop = 1;
  while(outerLoop < 4) {
   int innerLoop = 3;
   while(innerLoop < 6) {
    System.out.println(outerLoop = ":" + innerLoop);

The output from this program will be like this:

1 : 3

1 : 4

1 : 5

2 : 3

2 : 4

2 : 5

3 : 3

3 : 4

3 : 5

Notice how the outer loop starts with the first iteration for the starting number 1. Then the inner loop is executed in full till the inner loop number reaches 5 (less than 6). The process is then repeated for the next iteration of the outer loop till the condition of the outer loop (number less than 4) is met.

Here the outer loop is the code:

int outerLoop = i;
while(outerLoop < 4) {

The inner loop starts just after the while statement of the outer loop:

int innerLoop = 3;
while(innerLoop < 6) {
 System.out.println(outerLoop + ":" + innerLoop);

Following the first iteration of the outer loop, the inner loop is executed in full. Only after the complete execution of all the iterations of the inner loop is the next iteration of the outer loop executed.


Here's an example question we can work with:

  • How can we use a nested while loop to print out a chart to record the player number, number of tries, and if the player scored a hoop or not?

A coach is putting together a basketball team. There are 10 players for the try outs, the players are numbered 1 through 10. Each player gets 6 chances at the hoop. Use a nested while loop in Java to print out a chart to record the number of the player and the number of tries each player had. The chart will be used on the field to fill in the scores as the player scores a hoop or not.

class BasketballTryouts {
 public static void main(String[] args) {
  int playerNumber = 1;
  while(playerNumber < 11) {
   int numberOfTries = 1;
   while(numberOfTries) < 7) {
    System.out.println("Player Number " + playerNumber + ": Trial Number " + numberOfTries + ": Score (Y/N): ______");

The output for this program could be something like:


and so on.

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