Rounding Numbers in Excel

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Excel's ROUND Function

Excel ROUND function
Rounding Numbers in Excel with the ROUND Function. © Ted French

Rounding Numbers in Excel Overview

The ROUND Function:

  • is used to reduce a value by a specific number of decimal places or digits;
  • follows Excel's rules for rounding (see below) in determining if the rounding digit should be rounded upwards or kept the same;
  • alters the value of the data in the cell - unlike formatting options that allow you to change the number of decimal places displayed without actually changing the value in the cell;
  • affects the results of calculations due to this change in data.

The ROUND Function's Syntax and Arguments

A function's syntax refers to the layout of the function and includes the function's name, brackets, and arguments.

The syntax for the ROUND function is:

= ROUND ( Number, Num_digits )

The arguments for the function are:

Number - (required) the value to be rounded

  • This argument can contain the actual data for rounding or it can be a cell reference to the location of the data in the worksheet.

Num_digits - (required) the number of digits that the Number argument will be rounded to.

  • if the Num_digits argument is set to zero, the function rounds the value up or down to the nearest integer
  • if the Num_digits argument is greater than zero, the value is rounded to the specified number of decimal places
    • if the value of the Num_digits argument is set to 2, the function leaves two digits to the right of the decimal point and rounds the last digit up or down to the next number - row 5 example above
  • if the Num_digits argument is negative, all decimal places are removed and the function rounds up or down that number of digits to the left of the decimal point according to the rules for rounding
    • if the value of the Num_digits argument is set to -2, the function will remove all digits to the right of the decimal point and round the first and second digits to the left of the decimal point up or down to the nearest 100 - row 7 example above

ROUND Function Examples

The image above displays examples and gives explanations for a number of results returned by Excel's ROUND function for data in column A of the worksheet.

The results, shown in column C, depend upon the value of the Num_digits argument.

Entering the ROUND Function

The instructions below detail the steps taken to reduce the number 17.568 in cell A5 in the image above to two decimal places using the ROUND function.

Options for entering the function and its arguments include:

  • Typing the complete function: =ROUND(A5,2) into cell C5 in the worksheet
  • Selecting the function and arguments using the function's dialog box.

Although it is possible to just type the complete function in by hand, many people find it easier to use the dialog box to enter a function's arguments.

The steps below use the dialog box to enter the ROUND function into cell C5.

  1. Click on cell C5 to make it the active cell - this is where the results of the ROUND function will be displayed
  2. Click on the Formulas tab of the ribbon menu
  3. Choose Math & Trig from the ribbon to open the function drop down list
  4. Click on ROUND in the list to bring up the function's dialog box
  5. In the dialog box, click on the Number line
  6. Click on cell A5 in the worksheet to enter that cell reference into the dialog box
  7. Click on the Num_digits line
  8. Type a zero " 2 " to reduce the value in A5 to two decimal places
  9. Click OK to close the dialog box and return to the worksheet
  10. The answer 17.57 should appear in cell C5
  11. When you click on cell C5 the complete function =ROUND(A5 ,2) appears in the formula bar above the worksheet

Why the ROUND Function Returned 17.57

  • Setting the value of the Num_digits argument to 2 reduces the number of decimal places in the answer from three to two.
  • Since Num_digits is set to 2, the 6 in the number 17.568 is the rounding digit.
  • Since the value to the right of the rounding digit - the number 8 - is greater than 5, the rules for rounding require that the rounding digit be increased by one giving a result of 17.57