© BIS 2002

B U R E A U O F I N D I A N S T A N D A R D S
MANAK BHAVAN, 9 BAHADUR SHAH ZAFAR MARG
NEW DELHI 110002
I S : 2 - 1960
(Re a ffi r me d 1990)
Ed i t i on 2.3
(2000-08)
P r i ce Gr ou p 3
Indian S tandard
RULES FOR ROUNDING OFF
NUMERICAL VALUES
( Revised )
(Incor por at ing Amendment Nos. 1, 2 & 3)
UDC 511.135.6
I S : 2 - 1960
B U R E A U O F I N D I A N S T A N D A R D S
MANAK BHAVAN, 9 BAHADUR SHAH ZAFAR MARG
NEW DELHI 110002
Indian S tandard
RULES FOR ROUNDING OFF
NUMERICAL VALUES
( Revised )
Engineer ing St andar ds Sect ional Commit t ee, EDC 1
Chairman
DR K. S. KRISHNAN Council of Scient ific & Indust r ial Resear ch,
New Delhi
Members
SHRI PREM PRAKASH ( Alternate t o
Dr K. S. Kr ishnan )
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR Resear ch, Design & St andar dizat ion Or ganizat ion
(Minist r y of Railways)
SHRI BALESHWAR NATH Cent r al Boar d of Ir r igat ion & Power , New Delhi
DEPUTY DIRECTOR GENERAL OF
OBSERVATORIES
Dir ect or at e Gener al of Obser vat or ies (Minist r y of
Tr anspor t & Communicat ions), New Delhi
DIRECTOR Engineer ing Resear ch Depar t ment , Gover nment
of Andhr a Pr adesh
SHRI S. B. J OSHI Inst it ut ion of Engineer s (India), Calcut t a
SHRI R. N. KAPUR Indian Engineer ing Associat ion, Calcut t a
DR R. S. KRISHNAN Indian Inst it ut e of Science, Bangalor e
SHRI S. R. MEHRA Council of Scient ific & Indust r ial Resear ch, New
Delhi
SHRI S. N. MUKERJ I
SHRI K. D. BHATTACHARJ EE
( Alternate )
Gover nment Test House, Calcut t a
DR B. R. NIJ HAWAN Council of Scient ific & Indust r ial Resear ch, New
Delhi
SHRI V. R. RAGHAVAN Cent r al Wat er & Power Commission, New Delhi
BRIG J . R. SAMSON
LT-COL R. J ANARDHANAM
( Alternate )
Cont r oller of Development (Ar mament s) (Minist r y
of Defence)
( Continued on page 2 )
I S : 2 - 1960
2
( Continued from page 1 )
Members
SHRI R. N. SARMA Dir ect or at e Gener al of Supplies & Disposals
(Minist r y of Wor ks, Housing & Supply)
SHRI J . M. SINHA Engineer ing Associat ion of India, Calcut t a
SHRI J . M. TREHAN
SHRI T. N. BHARGAVA
( Alternate )
Minist r y of Tr anspor t & Communicat ions (Roads
Wing)
LT-GEN H. WILLIAMS Council of Scient ific & Indust r ial Resear ch,
New Delhi
DR LAL C. VERMAN ( Ex-officio )
SHRI J . P. MEHROTRA
( Alternate )
Dir ect or , ISI
Deput y Dir ect or (Engg), ISI
S ecretaries
DR A. K. GUPTA Assist ant Dir ect or (St at ), ISI
SHRI B. N. SINGH Ext r a Assist ant Dir ect or (St at ), ISI
I S : 2 - 1960
3
Indian S tandard
RULES FOR ROUNDING OFF
NUMERICAL VALUES
( Revised )
0. F O R E W O R D
0.1 This Indian St andar d (Revised) was adopt ed by t he Indian
St andar ds Inst it ut ion on 27 J uly 1960, aft er t he dr aft finalized by t he
Engineer ing St andar ds Sect ional Commit t ee had been appr oved by t he
Engineer ing Division Council.
0.2 To r ound off a value is t o r et ain a cer t ain number of figur es, counted
from the left, and dr op t he ot her s so as t o give a mor e r at ional for m t o t he
value. As t he r esult of a t est or of a calculat ion is gener ally r ounded off
for t he pur pose of r epor t ing or for dr aft ing specificat ions, it is necessar y
t o pr escr ibe r ules for ‘r ounding off’ numer ical values as also for deciding
on ‘t he number of figur es’ t o be r et ained.
0.3 This st andar d was or iginally issued in 1949 wit h a view t o pr omot ing
t he adopt ion of a unifor m pr ocedur e in rounding off numer ical values.
However , t he r ules given r efer r ed only t o unit fineness of r ounding
( see 2.3 ) and in cour se of year s t he need was felt t o pr escr ibe r ules for
r ounding off numer ical values t o fineness of r ounding ot her t han unit y.
Mor eover , it was also felt t hat t he discussion on t he number of figur es t o
be r et ained as given in t he ear lier ver sion r equir ed fur t her elucidat ion.
The pr esent r evision is expect ed t o fulfil t hese needs.
0.4 In pr epar ing t his st andar d, r efer ence has been made t o t he
following:
IS : 787-1956 GUIDE FOR INTER-CONVERSION OF VALUES FROM ONE
SYSTEM OF UNITS TO ANOTHER. Indian St andar ds Inst it ut ion.
IS : 1890 (PART 0)-1995/ISO 31-0 : 1992 QUANTITIES AND UNITS :
PART 0 GENERAL PRINCIPLES ( FIRS T REVIS ION ).
BS 1957 : 1953 PRESENTATION OF NUMERICAL VALUES (FINENESS OF
EXPRESSION; ROUNDING OF NUMBERS). Br it ish St andar ds
Inst it ut ion.
AMERICAN STANDARD Z 25.1-1940 RULES FOR ROUNDING OFF
NUMERICAL VALUES. Amer ican St andar ds Associat ion.
ASTM DESIGNATION : E 29-50 RECOMMENDED PRACTICE FOR
DESIGNATING SIGNIFICANT PLACES IN SPECIFIED VALUES. Amer ican
Societ y for Test ing and Mat er ials.
J AMES W. SCARBOROUGH. Numer ical Mat hemat ical Analysis
Balt imor e. The J ohn Hopkins Pr ess, 1955.
I S : 2 - 1960
4
0.5 This edit ion 2.3 incor por at es Amendment No. 1 (Febur ar y 1997),
Amendment No. 2 (Oct ober 1997) and Amendment No. 3 (August 2000).
Side bar indicat es modificat ion of t he t ext as t he r esult of
incor por at ion of t he amendment s.
1. SCOP E
1.1 This st andar d pr escr ibes r ules for r ounding off numer ical values for
t he pur pose of r epor t ing r esult s of a t est , an analysis, a measur ement or
a calculat ion, and t hus assist ing in dr aft ing specificat ions. It also makes
r ecommendat ions as t o t he number of figur es t hat should be r et ained in
cour se of comput at ion.
2. TERMI NOLOGY
2.0 For t he pur pose of t his st andar d, t he following definit ions shall
apply.
2.1 Nu mber of Deci ma l P la ces — A value is said t o have as many
decimal places as t her e ar e number of figur es in t he value, count ing
fr om t he fir st figur e aft er t he decimal point and ending wit h t he last
figur e on t he r ight .
NOTE 1 — For t he pur pose of t his st andar d, t he expr ession 10.32 × 10
3
should
be t aken t o consist of t wo par t s, t he value pr oper which is 10.32 and t he unit of
expr ession for t he value, 10
3
.
2.2 Nu mber of Si gn i fi ca n t Fi gu r es — A value is said t o have as many
significant figur es as t her e ar e number of significant digits ( see Not e 2 )
in t he value, count ing fr om t he left -most non-zero digit and ending wit h
t he r ight -most digit in t he value.
Examples:
Value Decimal Places
0.029 50 5
21.029 5 4
2 000.000 001 6
291.00 2
10.32 × 10
3
2
( see Not e 1 )
Examples:
Value S ignificant Figures
0.029 500 5
0.029 5 3
10.029 5 6
2 000.000 001 10
5 677.0 5
567 700 6
56.77 × 10
2
4
0 056.770 5
3 900 4
( see Not e 3 )
I S : 2 - 1960
5
NOTE 2 — Any of t he digit s, 1, 2, 3,............9 occur r ing in a value shall be a
significant digit (s); and zer o shall be a significant digit only when it is pr eceded by
some ot her digit (except ing zer os) on it s left . When appear ing in t he power of 10 t o
indicat e t he magnit ude of t he unit in t he expr ession of a value, zer o shall not be a
significant digit .
NOTE 3 — Wit h a view t o r emoving any ambiguit y r egar ding t he significance of
t he zer os at t he end in a value like 3 900, it would be always desir able t o wr it e t he
value in t he power -of-t en not at ion. For example, 3 900 may be wr it t en as 3.9 × 10
3
,
3.90 × 10
3
or 3.900 × 10
3
depending upon t he last figur e(s) in t he value t o which it
is desir ed t o impar t significance.
2.3 Fi n en ess of Rou n d i n g — The unit t o which a value is r ounded off.
For example, a value may be r ounded t o t he near est 0.000 01, 0.000 2,
0.000 5, 0.001, 0.002 5, 0.005, 0.01, 0.07, 1, 2.5, 10, 20, 50, 100 or any
ot her unit depending on t he fineness desir ed.
3. RULES F OR ROUNDI NG
3.0 The r ule usually followed in r ounding off a value t o unit fineness of
r ounding is t o keep unchanged t he last figur e r et ained when t he figur e
next beyond is less t han 5 and t o incr ease by 1 t he last figur e r et ained
when t he figur e next beyond is mor e t han 5. Ther e is diver sit y of
pr act ice when t he figur e next beyond t he last figur e r et ained is 5. In
such cases, some comput er s ‘r ound up’, t hat is, incr ease by 1, t he last
figur e r et ained; ot her s ‘r ound down’, t hat is, discar d ever yt hing beyond
t he last figur e r et ained. Obviously, if t he r et ained value is always
‘r ounded up’ or always ‘r ounded down’, t he sum and t he aver age of a
ser ies of values so r ounded will be lar ger or smaller t han t he
cor r esponding sum or aver age of t he unr ounded values. However , if
r ounding off is car r ied out in accor dance wit h t he r ules st at ed in 3.1 in
one st ep ( see 3.3 ), t he sum and t he aver age of t he r ounded values would
be mor e near ly cor r ect t han in t he pr evious cases ( see Appendix A ).
3.1 Rou n d i n g Off t o Un i t Fi n en ess — In case t he fineness of
r ounding is unit y in t he last place r et ained, t he following r ules (except
in 3.4) shall be followed:
Rule I — When t he figur e next beyond t he last figur e or place t o be
r et ained is less t han 5, t he figur e in t he last place r et ained shall be left
unchanged.
Rule II — When t he figur e next beyond t he last figur e or place t o be
r et ained is mor e t han 5 or is 5 followed by any figur es ot her t han zer os,
t he figur e in t he last place r et ained shall be incr eased by 1.
Rule III — When t he figur e next beyond t he last figur e or place t o be
r et ained is 5 alone or 5 followed by zer os only, t he figur e in t he last place
r et ained shall be (a) incr eased by 1 if it is odd and (b) left unchanged if
even (zer o would be r egar ded as an even number for t his pur pose).
I S : 2 - 1960
6
Some examples illust r at ing t he applicat ion of Rules I t o III ar e given in
Table I.
3.1.1 The r ules for r ounding laid down in 3.1 may be ext ended t o apply
when t he fineness of r ounding is 0.10, 10, 100, 1 000, et c. For
example, 2.43 when r ounded t o fineness 0.10 becomes 2.40.
Similar ly, 712 and 715 when r ounded t o t he fineness 10 become 710
and 720 r espect ively.
3.2 Rou n d i n g Off t o F i n en ess Ot h er t h a n Un i t y — In case t he
fineness of r ounding is not unit y, but , say, it is n, t he given value shall
be r ounded off accor ding t o t he following r ule:
Rule IV — When r ounding t o a fineness n, ot her t han unit y, t he given
value shall be divided by n. The quot ient shall be r ounded off t o t he
near est whole number in accor dance wit h t he r ules laid down in 3.1 for
unit fineness of r ounding. The number so obt ained, t hat is t he r ounded
quot ient , shall t hen be mult iplied by n t o get t he final r ounded value.
Some examples illust r at ing t he applicat ion of Rule IV ar e given in
Table II.
NOTE 4 — The r ules for r ounding off a value t o any fineness of r ounding, n, may
also be st at ed in line wit h t hose for unit fineness of r ounding ( see 3.1 ) as follows:
Divide t he given value by n so t hat an int egr al quot ient and a r emainder ar e
obt ained. Round off t he value in t he following manner :
a) If t he r emainder is less t han n/2, t he value shall be r ounded down such t hat
t he r ounded value is an int egr al mult iple of n.
TABLE I EXAMP LES OF ROUNDI NG OFF VALUES TO UNI T
FI NENESS
VALUE FINENESS OF ROUNDING
1 0.1 0.01 0.001
Rounded
Value
Rule Rounded
Value
Rule Rounded
Value
Rule Rounded
Value
Rule
7.260 4 7 I 7.3 II 7.26 I 7.260 I
14.725 15 II 14.7 I 14.72 III(b) 14.725 —
3.455 3 I 3.5 II 3.46 III(a) 3.455 —
13.545 001 14 II 13.5 I 13.55 II 13.545 I
8.725 9 II 8.7 I 8.72 III(b) 8.725 —
19.205 19 I 19.2 I 19.20 III(b) 19.205 —
0.549 9 1 II 0.5 I 0.55 II 0.550 II
0.650 1 1 II 0.7 II 0.65 I 0.650 I
0.049 50 0 I 0.0 I 0.05 II 0.050 III(a)
¹ ¹ ¹ ¹ ¹ ¹ ¹ ¹ ¹ ¹ ¹ ¹ ¹ ¹ ; ¹ ¹ ¹ ¹ ¹ ¹ ¹ ¹ ¹ ¹ ¹ ¹ ¹ )
¹ ¹ ¹ ; ¹ ¹ )
¹ ¹ ¹ ; ¹ ¹ ) ¹ ¹ ¹ ; ¹ ¹ ) ¹ ¹ ¹ ; ¹ ¹ )
I S : 2 - 1960
7
b) If t he r emainder is gr eat er t han n/2, t he value shall be r ounded up such t hat
t he r ounded value is an int egr al mult iple of n.
c) If t he r emainder is exact ly equal t o n/2, t hat r ounded value shall be chosen
which is an int egr al mult iple of 2n.
3.2.1 Fineness of r ounding ot her t han 2 and 5 is seldom called for in
pr act ice. For t hese cases, t he r ules for r ounding may be st at ed in simpler
for m as follows:
a) Rounding off t o fineness 50, 5, 0.5, 0.05, 0.005, et c.
Rule V —When r ounding t o 5 unit s, t he given value shall be
doubled and r ounded off t o t wice t he r equir ed fineness of r ounding in
accor dance wit h 3.1.1. The value t hus obt ained shall be halved t o get
t he final r ounded value.
For example, in r ounding off 975 t o t he near est 50, 975 is doubled
giving 1 950 which becomes 2 000 when r ounded off t o t he near est 100;
when 2 000 is divided by 2, t he r esult ing number 1 000 is t he r ounded
value of 975.
b) Rounding off t o fineness 20, 2, 0.2, 0.02, 0.002, et c.
Rule VI —When r ounding t o 2 unit s, t he given value shall be
halved and r ounded off t o half t he r equir ed fineness of r ounding in
accor dance wit h 3.1. The value t hus obt ained shall t hen be doubled t o
get t he final r ounded value.
For example, in r ounding off 2.70 t o t he near est 0.2, 2.70 is halved
giving 1.35 which becomes 1.4 when r ounded off t o t he near est 0.1;
when 1.4 is doubled, t he r esult ing number 2.8 is t he r ounded value.
TABLE I I EXAMP LES OF ROUNDI NG OF F VALUES TO
F I NENESS OTHER THAN UNI T
VALUE FINENESS OF
ROUNDING, n
QUOTIENT ROUNDED
QUOTIENT
FINAL ROUNDED
VALUE
(1) (2) (3) = (1)/(2) (4) (5) = (2) × (4)
1.647 8 0.2 8.239 8 1.6
2.70 0.2 13.5 14 2.8
2.496 8 0.3 8.322 7 8 2.4
1.75 0.5 3.5 4 2.0
0.687 21 0.07 9.817 3 10 0.70
0.875 0.07 12.5 12 0.84
325 50 6.5 6
3 × 10
2
1 025 50 20.5 20
10 ×10
2
I S : 2 - 1960
8
3.3 Su ccessi ve Rou n d i n g — The final r ounded value shall be obt ained
fr om t he most pr ecise value available in one st ep only and not fr om a
ser ies of successive r oundings. For example, t he value 0.549 9, when
r ounded t o one significant figur e, shall be wr it t en as 0.5 and not as 0.6
which is obt ained as a r esult of successive r oundings t o 0.550, 0.55,
and 0.6. It is obvious t hat t he most pr ecise value available is near er
t o 0.5 and not t o 0.6 and t hat t he er r or involved is less in t he for mer
case. Similar ly, 0.650 1 shall be r ounded off t o 0.7 in one st ep and not
successively t o 0.650, 0.65 and 0.6, since t he most pr ecise value available
her e is near er t o 0.7 t han t o 0.6 ( see also Table I ).
NOTE 5 — In t hose cases wher e a final r ounded value t er minat es wit h 5 and it
is int ended t o use it in fur t her comput at ion, it may be helpful t o use a ‘+’ or ‘–’ sign
aft er t he final 5 t o indicat e whet her a subsequent r ounding should be up or down.
Thus 3.214 7 may be wr it t en as 3.215– when r ounded t o a fineness of
r ounding 0.001. If fur t her r ounding t o t hr ee significant figur es is desir ed, t his
number would be r ounded down and wr it t en as 3.21 which is in er r or by less t han
half a unit in t he last place; ot her wise, r ounding of 3.215 would have yielded 3.22
which is in er r or by more t han half a unit in t he last place. Similar ly, 3.205 4 could
be wr it t en as 3.205+ when r ounded t o 4 significant figur es. Fur t her r ounding t o 3
significant figur es would yield t he value as 3.21.
In case t he final 5 is obt ained exact ly, it would be indicat ed by leaving t he 5 as
such wit hout using ‘+’ or ‘–’ sign. In subsequent r ounding t he 5 would t hen be
t r eat ed in accor dance wit h Rule III.
3.4 The r ules given in 3.1, 3.2 and 3.3 should be used only if no specific
cr it er ia for t he select ion of t he r ounded number have t o be t aken int o
account . In all cases, wher e safet y r equir ement s or pr escr ibed limit s
have t o be r espect ed, r ounding off should be done in one dir ect ion only.
4. NUMBER OF F I GURES TO BE RETAI NED
4.0 Per t inent t o t he applicat ion of t he r ules for r ounding off is t he
under lying decision as t o t he number of figur es t hat should be r et ained
in a given pr oblem. The or iginal values r equir ing t o be r ounded off may
ar ise as a r esult of a t est , an analysis or a measur ement , in ot her wor ds,
exper iment al r esult s, or t hey may ar ise fr om comput at ions involving
sever al st eps.
4.1 Exp er i men t a l Resu lt s — The number of figur es t o be r et ained in
an exper iment al r esult , eit her for t he pur pose of r epor t ing or for guiding
t he for mulat ion of specificat ions will depend on t he significance of t he
figur es in t he value. This aspect has been discussed in det ail under 4 of
IS : 787-1956 t o which r efer ence may be made for obt aining helpful
guidance.
4.2 Comp u t a t i on s — In comput at ions involving values of differ ent
accur acies, t he pr oblem as t o how many figur es should be r et ained at
var ious st eps assumes a special significance as it would affect t he
accur acy of t he final r esult . The r ounding off er r or will, in fact , be
inject ed int o comput at ion ever y t ime an ar it hmet ical oper at ion is
per for med. It is, t her efor e, necessar y t o car r y out t he comput at ion in
I S : 2 - 1960
9
such a manner as would obt ain accur at e r esult s consist ent wit h t he
accur acy of t he dat a in hand.
4.2.1 While it is not possible t o pr escr ibe det ails which may be followed
in comput at ions of var ious t ypes, cer t ain basic r ules may be
r ecommended for single ar it hmet ical oper at ions which, when followed,
will save labour and at t he same t ime enable accur acy of or iginal dat a t o
be nor mally maint ained in t he final answer s.
4.2.2 As a guide t o t he number of places or figur es t o be r et ained in t he
calculat ions involving ar it hmet ical oper at ions wit h r ounded or
appr oximat e values, t he following pr ocedur es ar e r ecommended:
a) Addition —The mor e accur at e values shall be r ounded off so as t o
r et ain one more place t han t he last significant figur e in t he least
accur at e value. The r esult ing sum shall t hen be r ounded off t o t he
last significant place in t he least accur at e value.
b) S ubtraction —The mor e accur at e value (of t he t wo given values)
shall be r ounded off, befor e subt r act ion, t o t he same place as t he
last significant figur e in less accur at e value; and t he r esult shall be
r epor t ed as such ( see also Not e 6 ).
c) Multiplication and Division —The number of significant figures
r et ained in t he mor e accur at e values shall be kept one more t han
t hat in t he least accur at e value. The r esult shall t hen be r ounded
off t o t he same number of significant figur es as in t he least
accur at e value.
d) When a long comput at ion is car r ied out in sever al st eps, t he
int er mediat e r esult s shall be pr oper ly r ounded at t he end of each
st ep so as t o avoid t he accumulat ion of r ounding er r or s in such
cases. It is r ecommended t hat , at t he end of each st ep, one mor e
significant figur e may be r et ained t han is r equir ed under (a), (b)
and (c) ( see also Not e 7 ).
NOTE 6 — The loss of t he significant figur es in t he subt r act ion of t wo near ly
equal values is t he gr eat est sour ce of inaccur acy in most comput at ions, and it
for ms t he weakest link in a chain comput at ion wher e it occur s. Thus, if t he values
0.169 52 and 0.168 71 ar e each cor r ect t o five significant figur es, t heir
differ ence 0.000 81, which has only t wo significant figur es, is quit e likely t o
int r oduce inaccur acy in subsequent comput at ion.
If, however , t he differ ence of t wo values is desir ed t o be cor r ect t o k significant
figur es and if it is known befor ehand t hat t he fir st m significant figur es at t he left
will disappear by subt r act ion, t hen t he number of significant figur es t o be r et ained
in each of t he values shall be m + k ( see Example 4 ).
NOTE 7 — To ensur e a gr eat er degr ee of accur acy in t he comput at ions, it is also
desir able t o avoid or defer as long as possible cer t ain appr oximat ion oper at ions
like t hat of t he division or squar e r oot . For example, in t he det er minat ion of
sucr ose by volumet r ic met hod, t he expr ession may be bet t er
evaluat ed by t aking it s calculat ional for m as 20w
1
( f
2
v
1
– f
1
v
2
)/w
2
v
1
v
2
which
would defer t he division unt il t he last oper at ion of t he calculat ion.
20w
1
w
2
--------------
f
2
v
2
------
f
1
v
1
------ –
¸ ,

¸ _
I S : 2 - 1960
10
4.2.3 Examples
Example 1
Requir ed t o find t he sum of t he r ounded off values 461.32, 381.6,
76.854 and 4.746 2.
Since t he least accur at e value 381.6 is known only t o t he fir st decimal
place, all ot her values shall be r ounded off t o one mor e place, t hat
is, t o t wo decimal places and t hen added as shown below:
The r esult ing sum shall t hen be r epor t ed t o t he same decimal place as
in t he least accur at e value, t hat is, as 924.5.
Example 2
Requir ed t o find t he sum of t he values 28 490, 894, 657.32, 39 500
and 76 939, assuming t hat t he value 39 500 is known t o t he
near est hundr ed only.
Since one of t he values is known only t o t he near est hundr ed, t he
ot her values shall be r ounded off t o t he near est t en and t hen added
as shown below:
The sum shall t hen be r epor t ed t o t he near est hundr ed as 1 465 × 100
or even as 1.465 × 10
5
.
Example 3
Requir ed t o find t he differ ence of 679.8 and 76.365, assuming t hat
each number is known t o it s last figur e but no far t her .
461.32
381.6
76.85
4.75
924.52
2 849 × 10
89 × 10
66 × 10
3 950 × 10
7 694 × 10
14 648 × 10
I S : 2 - 1960
11
Since one of t he values is known t o t he fir st decimal place only, t he
ot her value shall also be r ounded off t o t he fir st decimal place and
t hen t he differ ence shall be found.
The differ ence, 603.4, shall be r epor t ed as such.
Example 4
Requir ed t o evaluat e cor r ect t o five significant figur es.
Since = 1.587 450 79
= 1.577 973 38
and t hr ee significant figur es at t he left will disappear on
subt r act ion, t he number of significant figur es r et ained in each
value shall be 8 as shown below:
The r esult , 0.009 477 4, shall be r epor t ed as such (or
as 9.477 4 × 10
–3
).
Example 5
Requir ed t o evaluat e 35.2/ given t hat t he numer at or is cor r ect t o
it s last figur e.
Since t he numer at or her e is cor r ect t o t hr ee significant figur es, t he
denominat or shall be t aken as = 1.414. Then,
= 24.89
and t he r esult shall be r epor t ed as 24.9.
Example 6
Requir ed t o evaluat e 3.78π/5.6, assuming t hat t he denominat or is
t r ue t o only t wo significant figur es.
Since t he denominat or her e is cor r ect t o t wo significant figur es, each
number in t he numer at or would be t aken up t o t hr ee significant
679.8
76.4
603.4
1.587 450 8
1.577 973 4
0.009 477 4
2.52 2.49 –
2.52
2.49
2,
2
35.2
1.414
---------------
I S : 2 - 1960
12
figur es. Thus,
= 2,08.
The r esult shall, however , be r epor t ed as 2.1.
A P P E N D I X A
( Clause 3.0 )
VALI DI TY OF RULES
A-1. The validit y of t he r ules for r ounding off numer ical values, as given
in 3.1, may be seen fr om t he fact t hat t o ever y number t hat is t o be
‘r ounded down’ in accor dance wit h Rule I, t her e cor r esponds a number
t hat is t o be ‘r ounded up’ in accor dance wit h Rule II. Thus, t hese t wo
r ules est ablish a balance bet ween r ounding ‘down’ and ‘up’ for all
number s ot her t han t hose t hat fall exact ly midway bet ween t wo
alt er nat ives. In t he lat t er case, since t he figur e t o be dr opped is
exact ly 5, Rule III, which specifies t hat t he value should be r ounded t o
it s near est even number , implies t hat r ounding shall be ‘up’ when t he
pr eceding figur es ar e 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 and ‘down’ when t hey ar e 0, 2, 4, 6, 8.
Rule III hence advocat es a similar balance bet ween r ounding ‘up’ and
‘down’ ( see also Not e 8 ). This implies t hat if t he above r ules ar e followed
in a lar ge gr oup of values in which r andom dist r ibut ion of figur es occur s,
t he number ‘r ounded up’ and t he number ‘r ounded down’ will be near ly
equal. Ther efor e, t he sum and t he aver age of t he r ounded values will be
mor e near ly cor r ect t han would be t he case if all wer e r ounded in t he
same dir ect ion, t hat is, eit her all ‘up’ or all ‘down’.
NOTE 8 — Fr om pur ely logical consider at ions, a given value could have as well
been r ounded t o an odd number (and not an even number as in Rule III) when t he
discar ded figur es fall exact ly midway bet ween t wo alt er nat ives. But t her e is a
pr act ical aspect t o t he mat t er . The r ounding off a value t o an even number
facilit at es t he division of t he r ounded value by 2 and t he r esult of such division
gives t he cor r ect r ounding of half t he or iginal unr ounded value. Besides, t he
(r ounded) even values may gener ally be exact ly divisible by many mor e number s,
even as well as odd, t han ar e t he (r ounded) odd values.
3.78 3.14 ×
5.7
-----------------------------
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JOSHI Institution of Engineers (India). N. R. 9 BAHADUR SHAH ZAFAR MARG NEW DELHI 110002 OF INDIAN STANDARDS . EDC 1 Chairman DR K. S. JANARDHANAM of Defence) ( Alternate ) ( Continued on page 2 ) Council of Scientific & Industrial Research. New Delhi DIRECTOR Engineering Research Department. Calcutta SHRI K. R. MEHRA Council of Scientific & Industrial Research. Calcutta DR R. Krishnan ) ASSISTANT DIRECTOR Research. New Delhi SHRI V. KRISHNAN Members SHRI PREM PRAKASH ( Alternate to Dr K. R. New Delhi BRIG J. RAGHAVAN Central Water & Power Commission. Bangalore SHRI S. KRISHNAN Indian Institute of Science. Calcutta SHRI R. Design & Standardization Organization (Ministry of Railways) SHRI BALESHWAR NATH Central Board of Irrigation & Power. MUKERJI Government Test House. New Delhi SHRI S. New Delhi BUREAU MANAK BHAVAN . Government of Andhra Pradesh SHRI S. S.1960 Indian Standard RULES FOR ROUNDING OFF NUMERICAL VALUES ( Revised ) Engineering Standards Sectional Committee. S. New Delhi DEPUTY DIRECTOR GENERAL OF Directorate General of Observatories (Ministry of OBSERVATORIES Transport & Communications). BHATTACHARJEE ( Alternate ) DR B. NIJHAWAN Council of Scientific & Industrial Research. N. KAPUR Indian Engineering Association. R. SAMSON Controller of Development (Armaments) (Ministry LT-COL R.IS : 2 . D. B.

N. Housing & Supply) Engineering Association of India. K. SINGH Assistant Director (Stat). SINHA SHRI J. SARMA SHRI J. N.1960 ( Continued from page 1 ) Members SHRI R. ISI Directorate General of Supplies & Disposals (Ministry of Works. ISI 2 . WILLIAMS DR LAL C. BHARGAVA ( Alternate ) LT-GEN H. ISI Extra Assistant Director (Stat). P. TREHAN SHRI T. N. New Delhi Director. Calcutta Ministry of Transport & Communications (Roads Wing) Council of Scientific & Industrial Research. M. ISI Deputy Director (Engg). VERMAN ( Ex-officio ) SHRI J. M.IS : 2 . MEHROTRA ( Alternate ) Secretaries DR A. GUPTA SHRI B.

However. and drop the others so as to give a more rational form to the value.1-1940 RULES FOR ROUNDING OFF NUMERICAL VALUES. 1955.IS : 2 . The John Hopkins Press.1 This Indian Standard (Revised) was adopted by the Indian Standards Institution on 27 July 1960.4 In preparing this standard.1960 Indian Standard RULES FOR ROUNDING OFF NUMERICAL VALUES ( Revised ) 0. reference has been made to the following: IS : 787-1956 GUIDE FOR INTER-CONVERSION OF VALUES FROM ONE SYSTEM OF UNITS TO ANOTHER.3 ) and in course of years the need was felt to prescribe rules for rounding off numerical values to fineness of rounding other than unity. American Standards Association. JAMES W. American Society for Testing and Materials. As the result of a test or of a calculation is generally rounded off for the purpose of reporting or for drafting specifications. BS 1957 : 1953 PRESENTATION OF NUMERICAL VALUES (FINENESS OF EXPRESSION. after the draft finalized by the Engineering Standards Sectional Committee had been approved by the Engineering Division Council. IS : 1890 (PART 0)-1995/ISO 31-0 : 1992 QUANTITIES AND UNITS : PART 0 GENERAL PRINCIPLES ( FIRST REVISION ). Numerical Mathematical Analysis Baltimore. F O R E W O R D 0. the rules given referred only to unit fineness of rounding ( see 2. Indian Standards Institution.3 This standard was originally issued in 1949 with a view to promoting the adoption of a uniform procedure in rounding off numerical values. British Standards Institution. 0. 0. it is necessary to prescribe rules for ‘rounding off’ numerical values as also for deciding on ‘the number of figures’ to be retained. ASTM DESIGNATION : E 29-50 RECOMMENDED PRACTICE FOR DESIGNATING SIGNIFICANT PLACES IN SPECIFIED VALUES.2 To round off a value is to retain a certain number of figures. The present revision is expected to fulfil these needs. ROUNDING OF NUMBERS). counted from the left. it was also felt that the discussion on the number of figures to be retained as given in the earlier version required further elucidation. 0. 3 . SCARBOROUGH. Moreover. AMERICAN STANDARD Z 25.

029 5 10. 3 (August 2000). and thus assisting in drafting specifications.029 5 2 000. 2 (October 1997) and Amendment No. 2. 2.32 and the unit of expression for the value. counting from the left-most non-zero digit and ending with the right-most digit in the value.000 001 291.00 10.0 567 700 56.770 3 900 ( see Note 3 ) Significant Figures 5 3 6 10 5 6 4 5 4 4 .1 Number of Decimal Places — A value is said to have as many decimal places as there are number of figures in the value.029 500 0.029 5 2 000. the value proper which is 10.3 incorporates Amendment No. counting from the first figure after the decimal point and ending with the last figure on the right. 103. the following definitions shall apply.1 This standard prescribes rules for rounding off numerical values for the purpose of reporting results of a test. SCOPE 1.32 × 103 ( see Note 1 ) Decimal Places 5 4 6 2 2 NOTE 1 — For the purpose of this standard. Amendment No. 1. a measurement or a calculation.029 50 21.0 For the purpose of this standard. Side bar indicates modification of the text as the result of incorporation of the amendments.5 This edition 2.000 001 5 677. an analysis. Examples: Value 0.IS : 2 .2 Number of Significant Figures — A value is said to have as many significant figures as there are number of significant digits ( see Note 2 ) in the value. the expression 10. 2. 1 (Feburary 1997). Examples: Value 0.1960 0. It also makes recommendations as to the number of figures that should be retained in course of computation.32 × 103 should be taken to consist of two parts. TERMINOLOGY 2.77 × 102 0 056.

others ‘round down’. 3.9 occurring in a value shall be a significant digit(s).005. that is.5. if rounding off is carried out in accordance with the rules stated in 3.000 5.001. NOTE 3 — With a view to removing any ambiguity regarding the significance of the zeros at the end in a value like 3 900. RULES FOR ROUNDING 3. Rule III — When the figure next beyond the last figure or place to be retained is 5 alone or 5 followed by zeros only.IS : 2 . 10. 3... 0.1 in one step ( see 3.. 3. For example.. However. increase by 1.3 Fineness of Rounding — The unit to which a value is rounded off. 2. 20. the following rules (except in 3. 50... There is diversity of practice when the figure next beyond the last figure retained is 5. that is.. 0. discard everything beyond the last figure retained. 2..1960 NOTE 2 — Any of the digits. zero shall not be a significant digit. the last figure retained. 1. the sum and the average of the rounded values would be more nearly correct than in the previous cases ( see Appendix A ).0 The rule usually followed in rounding off a value to unit fineness of rounding is to keep unchanged the last figure retained when the figure next beyond is less than 5 and to increase by 1 the last figure retained when the figure next beyond is more than 5. 0. the figure in the last place retained shall be left unchanged.90 × 103 or 3.000 2.. 3 900 may be written as 3.01. Rule II — When the figure next beyond the last figure or place to be retained is more than 5 or is 5 followed by any figures other than zeros.9 × 103.. the figure in the last place retained shall be increased by 1. 2. In such cases. 5 ..3 ). and zero shall be a significant digit only when it is preceded by some other digit (excepting zeros) on its left. the figure in the last place retained shall be (a) increased by 1 if it is odd and (b) left unchanged if even (zero would be regarded as an even number for this purpose).07. For example. if the retained value is always ‘rounded up’ or always ‘rounded down’. some computers ‘round up’. 3.4) shall be followed: Rule I — When the figure next beyond the last figure or place to be retained is less than 5. 0. Obviously.. When appearing in the power of 10 to indicate the magnitude of the unit in the expression of a value. a value may be rounded to the nearest 0. the sum and the average of a series of values so rounded will be larger or smaller than the corresponding sum or average of the unrounded values.002 5. 1. 0. it would be always desirable to write the value in the power-of-ten notation.000 01.1 Rounding Off to Unit Fineness — In case the fineness of rounding is unity in the last place retained. 0.900 × 103 depending upon the last figure(s) in the value to which it is desired to impart significance. 0. 100 or any other unit depending on the fineness desired.

The quotient shall be rounded off to the nearest whole number in accordance with the rules laid down in 3.1.1 may be extended to apply when the fineness of rounding is 0. 2.549 9 0.46 13.455 13.455 13.260 4 14.7 19.049 50 Rounded Rule Value 7 I 15 3 14 9 19 1 1 0 II I II II I II II I Rounded Value 7.1 The rules for rounding laid down in 3. Some examples illustrating the application of Rule IV are given in Table II. etc.3 14. say.20 0.1 ) as follows: Divide the given value by n so that an integral quotient and a remainder are obtained.26 14.550 0.725 0. the given value shall be rounded off according to the following rule: Rule IV — When rounding to a fineness n.7 0.65 0.2 Rounding Off to Fineness Other than Unity — In case the fineness of rounding is not unity. the given value shall be divided by n. it is n.650 0.72 19.545 001 8.72 3. 712 and 715 when rounded to the fineness 10 become 710 and 720 respectively.260 I — — I — — II I III(a)                              0.725 3.725 19. that is the rounded quotient.1960 Some examples illustrating the application of Rules I to III are given in Table I.2 0.650 1 0.545 8.205 0. but. TABLE I EXAMPLES OF ROUNDING OFF VALUES TO UNIT FINENESS VALUE 1 FINENESS OF ROUNDING                      7.205 3. Similarly.725 3. For example.1 for unit fineness of rounding.10. 3.0 Rule II I II I I I I II I Rounded Value 7. may also be stated in line with those for unit fineness of rounding ( see 3. 1 000.IS : 2 .05 Rule I III(a) II III(b) II I II III(b) 14. 6        Rounded Rule Value 7. shall then be multiplied by n to get the final rounded value. other than unity.5 8.10 becomes 2.01 0. NOTE 4 — The rules for rounding off a value to any fineness of rounding.5 0.55 0. n.43 when rounded to fineness 0. Round off the value in the following manner: a) If the remainder is less than n/2.1 0.5 13. the value shall be rounded down such that the rounded value is an integral multiple of n.55 8.7 3. 10. 100.050 III(b) 19.40.001 . The number so obtained.

For example.2. 0.8 2.3 0.4 2.1 Fineness of rounding other than 2 and 5 is seldom called for in practice.1. TABLE II EXAMPLES OF ROUNDING OFF VALUES TO FINENESS OTHER THAN UNIT VALUE (1) 1. when 2 000 is divided by 2.02.70 is halved giving 1.70 0.05. 0.5 20.322 7 3. etc.5 ROUNDED QUOTIENT (4) 8 14 8 4 10 12 6 20 FINAL ROUNDED VALUE (5) = (2) × (4) 1.2.6 2. 0. The value thus obtained shall then be doubled to get the final rounded value.07 0.70 2.2 0.75 0. 0. that rounded value shall be chosen which is an integral multiple of 2n. 975 is doubled giving 1 950 which becomes 2 000 when rounded off to the nearest 100.5. 0. Rule V — When rounding to 5 units. b) Rounding off to fineness 20.35 which becomes 1.5 9. The value thus obtained shall be halved to get the final rounded value.1.4 when rounded off to the nearest 0. n (2) 0. 0.875 325 1 025 FINENESS OF ROUNDING. For example. For these cases.2.5 8. the value shall be rounded up such that the rounded value is an integral multiple of n. 2. in rounding off 975 to the nearest 50.0 0.1960 b) If the remainder is greater than n/2.4 is doubled.8 is the rounded value.817 3 12. 7 .005. c) If the remainder is exactly equal to n/2. 5.84 3 × 102 10 ×102 3.647 8 2.1.496 8 1. etc.239 13. the resulting number 1 000 is the rounded value of 975.687 21 0. the given value shall be doubled and rounded off to twice the required fineness of rounding in accordance with 3. the rules for rounding may be stated in simpler form as follows: a) Rounding off to fineness 50.5 6. Rule VI — When rounding to 2 units.2 0.1. when 1. in rounding off 2. 2.002.70 to the nearest 0.07 50 50 QUOTIENT (3) = (1)/(2) 8.IS : 2 .5 0. the given value shall be halved and rounded off to half the required fineness of rounding in accordance with 3. the resulting number 2.

either for the purpose of reporting or for guiding the formulation of specifications will depend on the significance of the figures in the value.650 1 shall be rounded off to 0.6 which is obtained as a result of successive roundings to 0.6 and that the error involved is less in the former case.1 Experimental Results — The number of figures to be retained in an experimental result. the value 0.2 Computations — In computations involving values of different accuracies. NUMBER OF FIGURES TO BE RETAINED 4. it would be indicated by leaving the 5 as such without using ‘+’ or ‘–’ sign.3 should be used only if no specific criteria for the selection of the rounded number have to be taken into account.215– when rounded to a fineness of rounding 0. or they may arise from computations involving several steps.0 Pertinent to the application of the rules for rounding off is the underlying decision as to the number of figures that should be retained in a given problem. It is.21.65 and 0. shall be written as 0. this number would be rounded down and written as 3. in other words.21 which is in error by less than half a unit in the last place. In subsequent rounding the 5 would then be treated in accordance with Rule III.7 in one step and not successively to 0.5 and not to 0. Further rounding to 3 significant figures would yield the value as 3. be injected into computation every time an arithmetical operation is performed.IS : 2 . experimental results.215 would have yielded 3. when rounded to one significant figure.22 which is in error by more than half a unit in the last place. The original values requiring to be rounded off may arise as a result of a test. 4. therefore. 3. rounding off should be done in one direction only. 0. 3. This aspect has been discussed in detail under 4 of IS : 787-1956 to which reference may be made for obtaining helpful guidance. 3.6.650.550.55.6 ( see also Table I ). and 0. where safety requirements or prescribed limits have to be respected. since the most precise value available here is nearer to 0.1.214 7 may be written as 3.1960 3.5 and not as 0. Thus 3. 4. NOTE 5 — In those cases where a final rounded value terminates with 5 and it is intended to use it in further computation. It is obvious that the most precise value available is nearer to 0. 0. an analysis or a measurement.205+ when rounded to 4 significant figures. Similarly. it may be helpful to use a ‘+’ or ‘–’ sign after the final 5 to indicate whether a subsequent rounding should be up or down.4 The rules given in 3. The rounding off error will.3 Successive Rounding — The final rounded value shall be obtained from the most precise value available in one step only and not from a series of successive roundings.549 9. necessary to carry out the computation in 8 .7 than to 0. If further rounding to three significant figures is desired.6. otherwise. In all cases. in fact. For example.2 and 3.001. rounding of 3. the problem as to how many figures should be retained at various steps assumes a special significance as it would affect the accuracy of the final result. In case the final 5 is obtained exactly.205 4 could be written as 3. 4. Similarly. 0.

4.1 While it is not possible to prescribe details which may be followed in computations of various types. will save labour and at the same time enable accuracy of original data to be normally maintained in the final answers. the intermediate results shall be properly rounded at the end of each step so as to avoid the accumulation of rounding errors in such cases.000 81. the following procedures are recommended: a) Addition — The more accurate values shall be rounded off so as to retain one more place than the last significant figure in the least accurate value. It is recommended that.2. Thus. the expression -------------w2  f2 f1   ----. their difference 0. if the values 0. it is also desirable to avoid or defer as long as possible certain approximation operations like that of the division or square root. The result shall then be rounded off to the same number of significant figures as in the least accurate value. to the same place as the last significant figure in less accurate value.IS : 2 . The resulting sum shall then be rounded off to the last significant place in the least accurate value. the difference of two values is desired to be correct to k significant figures and if it is known beforehand that the first m significant figures at the left will disappear by subtraction. before subtraction. may be better  v 2 v 1 evaluated by taking its calculational form as 20w1 ( f2 v1 – f1 v2 )/w2 v1 v2 which would defer the division until the last operation of the calculation. If. in the determination of 20w 1 sucrose by volumetric method. c) Multiplication and Division — The number of significant figures retained in the more accurate values shall be kept one more than that in the least accurate value. and it forms the weakest link in a chain computation where it occurs. For example. is quite likely to introduce inaccuracy in subsequent computation. d) When a long computation is carried out in several steps. NOTE 6 — The loss of the significant figures in the subtraction of two nearly equal values is the greatest source of inaccuracy in most computations. which has only two significant figures. however. one more significant figure may be retained than is required under (a). at the end of each step. (b) and (c) ( see also Note 7 ).168 71 are each correct to five significant figures.– ----. and the result shall be reported as such ( see also Note 6 ). b) Subtraction — The more accurate value (of the two given values) shall be rounded off. then the number of significant figures to be retained in each of the values shall be m + k ( see Example 4 ). certain basic rules may be recommended for single arithmetical operations which.1960 such a manner as would obtain accurate results consistent with the accuracy of the data in hand.2 As a guide to the number of places or figures to be retained in the calculations involving arithmetical operations with rounded or approximate values. when followed. NOTE 7 — To ensure a greater degree of accuracy in the computations.2. 4.169 52 and 0. 9 .

657. 381.85 4.6.746 2. 10 .2. as 924. the other values shall be rounded off to the nearest ten and then added as shown below: 2 849 × 10 89 × 10 66 × 10 3 950 × 10 7 694 × 10 14 648 × 10 The sum shall then be reported to the nearest hundred as 1 465 × 100 or even as 1.465 × 105. to two decimal places and then added as shown below: 461. assuming that the value 39 500 is known to the nearest hundred only.32.1960 4.52 The resulting sum shall then be reported to the same decimal place as in the least accurate value. 39 500 and 76 939. assuming that each number is known to its last figure but no farther. that is. Example 2 Required to find the sum of the values 28 490.32 381.IS : 2 . 76. Since one of the values is known only to the nearest hundred. that is.365.6 76. all other values shall be rounded off to one more place.6 is known only to the first decimal place. Since the least accurate value 381.32.854 and 4. 894.75 924.3 Examples Example 1 Required to find the sum of the rounded off values 461.5. Example 3 Required to find the difference of 679.8 and 76.

Since the numerator here is correct to three significant figures. given that the numerator is correct to its last figure.587 450 79 2. 35. Since 2. Example 6 Required to evaluate 3. as 9.8 76. shall be reported as such. Example 5 Required to evaluate 35.009 477 4.587 450 8 1.49 = 1.414.2 -------------. 679.4.1960 Since one of the values is known to the first decimal place only.89 1. 603.2/ 2.IS : 2 . the number of significant figures retained in each value shall be 8 as shown below: 1.577 973 38 and three significant figures at the left will disappear on subtraction.78π/5. assuming that the denominator is true to only two significant figures.477 4 × 10–3).4 The difference.49 correct to five significant figures.577 973 4 0. 0. Then.6.52 = 1.414 and the result shall be reported as 24. the other value shall also be rounded off to the first decimal place and then the difference shall be found. each number in the numerator would be taken up to three significant shall be reported as such (or 11 .009 477 4 The result.52 – 2. Since the denominator here is correct to two significant figures.4 603. Example 4 Required to evaluate 2. the denominator shall be taken as 2 = 1.= 24.9.

6. 7.08. the (rounded) even values may generally be exactly divisible by many more numbers. implies that rounding shall be ‘up’ when the preceding figures are 1. 9 and ‘down’ when they are 0. a given value could have as well been rounded to an odd number (and not an even number as in Rule III) when the discarded figures fall exactly midway between two alternatives. however.78 × 3. 3.1. 4. Rule III hence advocates a similar balance between rounding ‘up’ and ‘down’ ( see also Note 8 ). APPENDIX ( Clause 3. the sum and the average of the rounded values will be more nearly correct than would be the case if all were rounded in the same direction. Thus. In the latter case. even as well as odd. than are the (rounded) odd values. But there is a practical aspect to the matter. ---------------------------5.1. NOTE 8 — From purely logical considerations. This implies that if the above rules are followed in a large group of values in which random distribution of figures occurs.0 ) A VALIDITY OF RULES A-1.14 = 2.7 The result shall. Besides. may be seen from the fact that to every number that is to be ‘rounded down’ in accordance with Rule I. The rounding off a value to an even number facilitates the division of the rounded value by 2 and the result of such division gives the correct rounding of half the original unrounded value. these two rules establish a balance between rounding ‘down’ and ‘up’ for all numbers other than those that fall exactly midway between two alternatives. the number ‘rounded up’ and the number ‘rounded down’ will be nearly equal. 2. either all ‘up’ or all ‘down’. since the figure to be dropped is exactly 5. as given in 3.1960 figures. Rule III.IS : 2 . 5. The validity of the rules for rounding off numerical values. Therefore. be reported as 2. 8. Thus. that is. there corresponds a number that is to be ‘rounded up’ in accordance with Rule II. 3. 12 . which specifies that the value should be rounded to its nearest even number.

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