Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Rounding to Two Significant Digits.

Rounding to Two Significant Digits

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 9, 2019)

5

Tammy needs to round values in a worksheet to two significant digits. For instance, if a cell contains 137, it should round to 140; if it contains 0.0005937 it should round to 0.00059; and if it contains 156735.32 it should round to 160000. She wonders if there is a simple formula to round any given number to only two significant digits.

Of course, it depends on what your definition of "simple" is. Fact of the matter, though, is that there are several different formulas you can use to get the desired result. Assuming that your original value is in cell A1, you can use any of the following representative formulas:

=ROUND(A1/(10^(INT(LOG10(ABS(A1)))+1)),2)*(10^(INT(LOG10(ABS(A1)))+1))
=ROUND(A1,-(INT(LOG(ABS(A1),10))+1)+2)
=FIXED(A1,1-INT(LOG10(ABS(A1))))
=ROUND(A1,1-INT(LOG(ABS(A1))))

These formulas will work with either positive or negative values just fine. The LOG (or LOG10) function is used to determine the number of digits either to the left or right of the decimal place before the first significant digit occurs. The INT of that function actually provides a number that is one less than the number of digits required, so that is why the value has 1 added to it. We can then round using that number of digits.

If you think that you may want to use a different number of significant digits than two, then you can use either of the following formulas:

=ROUND(A1,2-INT(LOG(ABS(A1)))+1)
=ROUND(A1,2-INT(LOG10(ABS(A1)))+1)
=FIXED(A1,2-INT(LOG10(ABS(A1)))-1)

All you need to do is change the 2 to reflect any number of significant digits you want. More information about significant digits in Excel can be found here:

http://excelribbon.tips.net/T012083

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (10397) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Rounding to Two Significant Digits.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Embedding TrueType Fonts by Default

If you use TrueType fonts frequently, you might want to set Word to embed those fonts by default. Here's how to do it.

Discover More

Calculating Business Days

There are calendar days and then there are business days. Excel provides two functions (NETWORKDAYS and NETWORKDAYS.INTL) ...

Discover More

Transposing Two Words

A common editing task is to transpose two adjacent words, so that their order is changed. While the task is common, there ...

Discover More

Excel Smarts for Beginners! Featuring the friendly and trusted For Dummies style, this popular guide shows beginners how to get up and running with Excel while also helping more experienced users get comfortable with the newest features. Check out Excel 2013 For Dummies today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Modified Rounding

Rounding is normally done so that values greater than or equal to .5 are rounded up and less than .5 are rounded down. ...

Discover More

Rounding To the Nearest Even Integer

Do you need your numbers to be rounded to an even integer value? How you accomplish the task depends on the nature of the ...

Discover More

Avoiding Rounding Errors in Formula Results

Some formulas just don't give the results you expect. Sometimes this is due to the way that Excel handles rounding. ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 3 + 5?

2019-01-10 18:02:57

Yvan Loranger

The last 2 ROUND formula in the Tip above should end with -1) instead of +1)


2019-01-09 05:10:17

Mark

Lest anyone forget: All of Allen's formulas will fail if A1 is empty or contains zero as the LOG(0) is undefined. Simply wrap the equation with IFERROR to handle this.


2015-08-06 08:18:13

MIchael Armstrong

A slightly more elegant, if not more obscure, formula comes to mind; don't know which of my suggestions is the faster:

=IF(MOD(A1*100,1)=0.5,A1,ROUND(A1,2))

and of course, the cell is formatted to display to 3 decimal places.


2015-08-06 08:07:40

MIchael Armstrong

Here's a very inelegant way to do it; assume the number is in cell A1:

=IF(A1*100-INT(A1*100)=0.5,A1,ROUND(A1,2))


2015-08-06 01:03:41

Mostafa Saqallah

Hi,
Good morning all, hope everything is well!

I'm living in the Middle East "Kuwait" and when we use Microsoft Excel to calculate currencies we use 3 decimals, for example 100.623, 47.187, 249.446, 8075.343, 642.508 Kuwaiti Dinars (KWD).

Is there a way to round to the nearest decimal, as opposed to the nearest dinar.

These are two types of roundings, for example:

Type 1:
Example 1: 54.250 keep it as 54.250
Example 2: 54.251 round to 54.250
Example 3: 54.252 round to 54.250
Example 4: 54.253 round to 54.250
Example 5: 54.254 round to 54.250
Example 6: 54.255 keep it as 54.255

Type 2:
Example 1: 155.375 keep it as 155.375
Example 2: 155.376 round to 155.380
Example 3: 155.377 round to 155.380
Example 4: 155.378 round to 155.380
Example 5: 155.379 round to 155.380
Example 6: 155.380 keep it as 155.375

To make it more clear, for Type 1 decimals (from 1-4) round it to "0".

And for Type 2 decimals (6-9), round it to "1".

If the last decimal is 0 or 5 just keep it as is (e.g. 11.250, 46.895, 425.110, 201.640, 5.115, 25.160, etc.)

Could you please show me how I can use the right formula in Excel without using micro?

Let me know if you need any more clarification.

Best Regards,

Mostafa Saqallah


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.