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# T-SQL Function to correctly display of n number of Significant Figures

Posted on 2011-03-23
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I need a T-SQL Function to correctly display of n number of Significant Figures.  All over the web we have people who think they know what "significant figures" are and they confuse if with decimal places.  But I am talking about the most scientically accurate definition which is best explained as a function that would diplay a store value of 0.01 as 0.010; or a stored value of 0.0100 if Numeric(n,4) with two sig figs as: 0.010 .   or a stored value of 0.005 displayed as 0.0050.  Or 0.94 as 0.94.  The decimal places will NOT be constant.   Meaning you display two figures to the right starting with and including the value that is greater than zero.  This is a question for a top SQL expert.

Thanks,

ExpertUser
0
Question by:ExpertUserId
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LVL 41

Expert Comment

ID: 35204039
You can try like this. try changing the value of @pre to 3 or 4 or 5 and see how the result changes.
``````declare @var varchar(100),@pre int
select @var = '0.0123456789012345',@pre = 2
declare @sql nvarchar(100)
select @sql = 'select CONVERT(decimal(18,'+convert(varchar,@pre)+'),'''+@var+''')'
exec (@sql)
``````
0

LVL 143

Expert Comment

ID: 35205910
I understand, working on the SQL
0

LVL 143

Expert Comment

ID: 35205925
I think you want this function (dbo.fix)
http://sqlblogcasts.com/blogs/rob_farley/pages/829.aspx
0

Author Comment

ID: 35347447
Angellll,  I have been impressed with your work over the years.   But, this 2 significant figures issue is a tricky one.  Mostly because it comes from a scietific background and not a financial background.

Your suggested solution doesn't work because when I provide it a float value of 0.0100 it returns  0.01 which is not 2 sig figs.  I should return 0.0010.   The decimal places will NOT be constant.   Meaning you display two figures to the right starting with and including the value that is greater than zero.  I work for a Laboratory regulated by the FDA and this is what my science users are tell me.
0

LVL 143

Expert Comment

ID: 35348854
ok, let me put my version of the "fix" function:
``````alter function dbo.fix(@num float, @digits int) returns varchar(1000) as
begin
declare @x varchar(1000)
declare @res varchar(1000)

set @x = cast(isnull(cast(@num as decimal(28,14)),0) as varchar(1000))
if @x like '.%' set @x = '0' + @x
set @res = ''

while @digits > 0
begin
if @x like '.[0-9]%' set @res = @res + left(@x,2)
if @x like '[0-9]%' set @res = @res + left(@x,1)

if @x = '' and @res like '%.%' set @res = @res + '0'
if @x = '' and @res not like '%.%' set @res = @res + '.0'

set @digits = @digits -1

if @x <> ''
begin
if @x like '.%' set @x = substring(@x, 2, 1000)
set @x = substring(@x, 2, 1000)
end
end

while @x like '[0-9]%.%' or ( @x <> '' and @res not like '%.%')
begin
set @res = @res + '0'
set @x =  substring(@x, 2, 1000)
end

return (@res)
end
``````
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Author Comment

ID: 35354851
Thank you for your effort.   This change to fix did not work.
I have altered my Fix function.    I then ran the following:

select 0.0100 as 'Input', dbo.fix(0.0100,2) as 'Output'
Union
select 0.0050 as 'input', dbo.fix(0.0050,2) as 'Output'

The results:

Input             Output
0.0100      0.0
0.0050      0.0

0

LVL 41

Expert Comment

ID: 35355008
Why don't you try like this?
``````declare @dig int
select @dig = 2
create table #table(Num float)
insert #table values (1.234),(0.0100),(0.005),(0.94)
select *,ROUND(Num,@dig) RoundedValue
from #table
drop table #table
/*
Num	RoundedValue
1.234	1.23
0.01	0.01
0.005	0.01
0.94	0.94
*/
``````
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Author Comment

ID: 35355152
You can't just use the ROUND founction to accomplish 2 sig fig.
0

LVL 41

Expert Comment

ID: 35355515
>> You can't just use the ROUND founction to accomplish 2 sig fig.

Why? Do you have data breaking that?
0

LVL 143

Expert Comment

ID: 35364464
>This change to fix did not work.
example?

>I have altered my Fix function.
how?
0

Author Comment

ID: 35370178
AngelllI,

I implemented the change you gave me and the results were zeros?

in other words:  I ran your fix: alter function dbo.fix(@num float, @digits int) returns varchar(1000) as
begin
declare @x varchar(1000)
declare @res varchar(1000)

set @x = cast(isnull(cast(@num as decimal(28,14)),0) as varchar(1000))
if @x like '.%' set @x = '0' + @x
set @res = ''

while @digits > 0
begin
if @x like '.[0-9]%' set @res = @res + left(@x,2)
if @x like '[0-9]%' set @res = @res + left(@x,1)

if @x = '' and @res like '%.%' set @res = @res + '0'
if @x = '' and @res not like '%.%' set @res = @res + '.0'

set @digits = @digits -1

if @x <> ''
begin
if @x like '.%' set @x = substring(@x, 2, 1000)
set @x = substring(@x, 2, 1000)
end
end

while @x like '[0-9]%.%' or ( @x <> '' and @res not like '%.%')
begin
set @res = @res + '0'
set @x =  substring(@x, 2, 1000)
end

return (@res)
end

Try and run these two test values 0.01 and 0.005.  The return as zeros.

These should return as 0.010 and 0.0050 respectively.  (2 sig figs)

you
0

Author Comment

ID: 35370609

Your code you submitted does not ruturn 2 significant figures by the scientific defition of the term two sig figs.    0.01 is not 2 sig figs.   .05 is not 2 sig figs.  Please read my initial question again.

Thanks!
0

LVL 41

Expert Comment

ID: 35370830
Create a function like this.
``````CREATE FUNCTION dbo.fn_Fix
(@num FLOAT)
RETURNS VARCHAR(100)
AS
BEGIN
DECLARE  @rn  INT,
@str VARCHAR(100)

SELECT @rn = 0;

;WITH cte
AS (SELECT string,
SUBSTRING(string,n + 1,1) string_val,
n,
ROW_NUMBER()
OVER(ORDER BY n DESC) rn
FROM   (SELECT SUBSTRING(CONVERT(VARCHAR(100),@num),3,LEN(CONVERT(VARCHAR(100),@num))) string) t1
CROSS JOIN (SELECT NUMBER
FROM   MASTER..spt_values
WHERE  TYPE = 'P') AS Numbers(n)
WHERE  n < LEN(string))
SELECT @str = '0.' + c1.string + CASE
WHEN c2.string_val = 0 THEN '0'
ELSE ''
END
FROM   cte c1
LEFT JOIN cte c2
ON c1.rn + 1 = c2.rn
WHERE  c1.rn = 1

RETURN @str
END
``````
And use this function in the code.
``````declare @dig int
select @dig = 2
create table #table(Num float)
insert #table values (0.234),(0.0100),(0.005),(0.94)
select *,dbo.fn_fix(Num) RoundedValue
from #table
drop table #table
/*
Num	RoundedValue
0.234	0.234
0.01	0.010
0.005	0.0050
0.94	0.94
*/
``````
Limitation: This function returns 2 sig figs only.
0

LVL 143

Expert Comment

ID: 35372186
Sharath_123
Num     RoundedValue
0.234   0.234

is not requested, but:
Num     RoundedValue
0.234   0.23

I will be looking in a couple of hours into my function ...
0

LVL 143

Expert Comment

ID: 35372702
found my issue ...
``````alter function dbo.fix(@num float, @digits int) returns varchar(1000) as
begin
declare @x varchar(1000)
declare @res varchar(1000)

set @x = cast(isnull(cast(@num as decimal(28,14)),0) as varchar(1000))
if @x like '.%' set @x = '0' + @x

set @res = ''

while @digits > 0
begin
if @x like '.[0-9]%' set @res = @res + left(@x,2)
if @x like '[0-9]%' set @res = @res + left(@x,1)

if @x = '' and @res like '%.%' set @res = @res + '0'
if @x = '' and @res not like '%.%' set @res = @res + '.0'

set @digits = @digits - case when replace(replace(@res, '0', ''), '.', '') <> '' then 1 else 0 end

if @x <> ''
begin
if @x like '.%' set @x = substring(@x, 2, 1000)
set @x = substring(@x, 2, 1000)
end
end

while @x like '[0-9]%.%' or ( @x <> '' and @res not like '%.%')
begin
set @res = @res + '0'
set @x =  substring(@x, 2, 1000)
end

return (@res)
end
``````
0

Author Comment

ID: 35376595
Angel,

Your new verson seems to work for values <= 9.99 but what happens when your value is 10 or greater?

For my purposes this may work, but I'm not sure.  I need to do some research on this.
0

LVL 143

Accepted Solution

Guy Hengel [angelIII / a3] earned 125 total points
ID: 35381676
found the issue for > 9.99
``````alter function dbo.fix(@num float, @digits int) returns varchar(1000) as
begin
declare @x varchar(1000)
declare @res varchar(1000)

set @x = cast(isnull(cast(@num as decimal(28,14)),0) as varchar(1000))
if @x like '.%' set @x = '0' + @x

set @res = ''

while @digits > 0
begin
if @x like '.[0-9]%' set @res = @res + left(@x,2)
if @x like '[0-9]%' set @res = @res + left(@x,1)

if @x = '' and @res like '%.%' set @res = @res + '0'
if @x = '' and @res not like '%.%' set @res = @res + '.0'

set @digits = @digits - case when replace(replace(@res, '0', ''), '.', '') <> '' then 1 else 0 end

if @x <> ''
begin
if @x like '.%' set @x = substring(@x, 2, 1000)
set @x = substring(@x, 2, 1000)
end
end

while @x like '[0-9]%.%' or ( @x <> '' and @x not like '.%' and @res not like '%.%')
begin
set @res = @res + '0'
set @x =  substring(@x, 2, 1000)
end

return (@res)
end
``````
0

Author Closing Comment

ID: 35461937
Thank you for the help!
0

Author Comment

ID: 36216618
The code that won this question has failed.  If you are regulated by the FDA and your numbers are scientific in nature instead of financial, then you will need the following code:

/****** Object:  UserDefinedFunction [dbo].[fn_sigfig]    Script Date: 07/19/2011 11:37:17 ******/
SET ANSI_NULLS ON
GO
SET QUOTED_IDENTIFIER ON
GO

CREATE FUNCTION [dbo].fn_SigFig(@inValue DECIMAL(38,20), @inDecimalPlaces INT ) RETURNS VARCHAR(100) AS
BEGIN
DECLARE @res VARCHAR(100)
DECLARE @fullNumber VARCHAR(100)
DECLARE @nChars INT

IF @inValue IS NULL BEGIN
SET @res = NULL
RETURN (@res)
END

-- rather than rounding, drop trailing zeros by casting the value to a float, then to a varchar
IF @inDecimalPlaces IS NULL BEGIN
SET @res = CAST(CAST(@inValue AS FLOAT) AS VARCHAR)
RETURN (@res)
END

SET @inDecimalPlaces = @inDecimalPlaces-1-floor(log10(abs(@inValue)))

SET @fullNumber = CAST(@inValue AS VARCHAR)

IF @inDecimalPlaces = 0 BEGIN
-- set it to negative 1 so that we drop the decimal point
SET @inDecimalPlaces = -1
END

SET @nChars = CHARINDEX('.',@fullNumber) + @inDecimalPlaces

SET @res = SUBSTRING(@fullNumber,1,@nChars)

RETURN (@res)

END

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