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This paper proposes a straightforward method for designing variable digital filters with arbitrary variable magnitude as well as arbitrary fixed-phase or variable fractional delay (VFD) responses. The basic idea is to avoid the complicated direct design of one-dimensional (1-D) variable digital filters by decomposing the original variable filter design problem into easier subproblems that only require constant 1-D filter designs and multidimensional polynomial approximations. Through constant 1-D filter designs and multidimensional polynomial fits, we can easily obtain a variable digital filter satisfying the given variable design specifications. To decompose the original variable filter design into constant 1-D filter designs and multidimensional polynomial fits, a new multidimensional complex array decomposition called vector array decomposition (VAD) is proposed, which is based on two new theorems using the singular value decomposition (SVD). Once the VAD is obtained, the subproblems can be easily solved. Furthermore, we show that the VAD can also be generalized to the weighted least squares (WLS) case (WLS-VAD) for the WLS variable filter design. Three design examples are given to illustrate that the WLS-VAD and VAD-based techniques are considerably efficient for designing variable digital filters with arbitrary variable magnitude and arbitrary fixed-phase or VFD responses.