How to Reduce Decimals in Excel

This guide will explain several methods to reduce decimals in Excel.

Excel comes with several formatting options and functions that can be used to decrease the number of decimals in a specific numerical value.

This article will go over some common methods you can use to limit the number of decimal places of a particular value. But first, let’s look into a situation where you might need to reduce the number of decimals.

Suppose you are working on a financial sheet. Most currencies only support values up to the second decimal place. If a calculation in our worksheet returns a value of $1.2002, we want to reduce the number of decimals to two and get $1.20. 

There are situations where you might want to remove decimals altogether and return a whole number. For example, it makes no sense to have a stock of 25.5 for a particular item in an inventory. The business owner can either round-up or round down the values to the nearest integer. How can we reduce the number of decimals in Excel?

First, we must explain the difference between formatting and truncating. Formatting cells so that less decimal places are seen does not change the actual value of the cell. 

When we truncate or round a value, we are actually modifying the value of the decimal. It’s possible that reducing decimals in this manner will affect the accuracy of your sheet. Which method you should use depends on your use case.

Now that we know when to reduce decimals in Excel, let’s look at how these methods can be used on an actual sample spreadsheet.

 

 

A Real Example of Reducing Decimals in Excel

Let’s take a look at a real example formatting and functions being used in an Excel spreadsheet to reduce decimals.

In the example below, we use cell formatting to control the number of decimal places shown in column C. 

reduce decimals in Excel

 

In the second example, we used the TRUNC function to reduce the number of decimals in the value. The TRUNC function accepts up to two arguments: the number to truncate and the precision required. If the second argument is not provided, the TRUNC function will return an integer.

reduce decimals in Excel using function

 

To get the values in Column F, we just need to use the following formula:

= TRUNC(A2, 2)

You can make your own copy of the spreadsheet above using the link attached below. 

If you’re ready to try out the methods we’ve mentioned in Excel, head over to the next section to read our step-by-step guide.

 

 

How to Reduce Decimals in Excel 

This section will guide you through each step needed to start reducing decimals in Excel. You’ll learn how we can use both cell formatting and mathematical functions to perform this task.

Follow these steps to start using cell formatting to reduce decimals:

  1. First, select the cell or cell range to which you want to apply cell formatting. In this example, we’ll apply formatting to the values in column B. These values are a direct copy of the original values found in column A.
    copy original values in new range
  2. Once your desired range is selected, go to the Home tab and look for the decrease decimals icon in the Number group. Keep clicking on the icon until you reach the desired number of decimals.
    reduce decimals in Excel using formatting option

In the above example, the values themselves do not change. If you want to mathematically truncate or round the value to a certain number of decimal places, we can use a few mathematical functions.

  1. Use the ROUND function to return the target value rounded to the nearest number of digits. In the example below, we’ll use the ROUND function to return the value 23.14326 rounded to the nearest hundredths.
    use ROUND function to reduce decimals in Excel
  2. Hit the Enter key to evaluate the function. In our example, the ROUND function has returned the value 23.14.
    reduce decimals in Excel
  3. We can drag down the formula to fill out the rest of the column.
    fill rest of the column
  4. Alternatively, we can use either the ROUNDDOWN or ROUNDUP functions to perform our rounding. The ROUNDDOWN function will always round the value to the nearest decimal value lower than the current argument. The ROUNDUP function always rounds the value to the nearest decimal value higher than the current argument.
    use ROUNDDOWN and ROUNDUP
  5. We can use the TRUNC function to reduce decimals in Excel. Enter the value you want to truncate as the first argument. The second argument should indicate how many decimal places you want to keep in your result.
    reduce decimals in Excel using TRUNC

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  1. What is the difference between TRUNC and INT?
    The TRUNC and INT functions round down the number to an integer by default. The main difference is that the TRUNC function includes an optional argument that allows the user to determine the precision of the truncation.

    These two functions also treat negative numbers differently. TRUNC(-2.5) returns -2 while INT(-2.5) returns -3 because -3 is the value when rounded down.

 

 

This step-by-step guide should be all you need to begin reducing decimals yourself in Excel. Our guide shows how easy it is to decrease the number of decimals in a value by applying cell formatting or using functions such as TRUNC or ROUND.

Reducing decimals is just one example of a mathematical task you can perform on your data in Excel. With so many other Excel functions available, you can surely find one that suits your use case. 

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