C++ Scientific Notation

Posted on 2016-09-30
Last Modified: 2016-10-24
Using math.h
double value;
value = 1.97* pow(10,-4);

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Returns 1.97e-04

I am looking for .000197 to be what is returned and I'm not sure where I'm going wrong.
Question by:Computer Guy
  • 2
LVL 82

Assisted Solution

by:Dave Baldwin
Dave Baldwin earned 125 total points (awarded by participants)
ID: 41824423
You need to use 'printf' or 'sprintf' to get it to be formatted like that.  Normal math routines will not keep all those leading zeros.
LVL 32

Accepted Solution

phoffric earned 250 total points (awarded by participants)
ID: 41824449
I happen to also like printf or sprintf. But there are C++ purists who do not. If you are one of them, then take a look at this.
Following sample code from this link shows how to format according to your needs.
// modify floatfield
#include <iostream>     // std::cout, std::fixed, std::scientific

int main () {
  double a = 3.1415926534;
  double b = 2006.0;
  double c = 1.0e-10;


  std::cout << "default:\n";
  std::cout << a << '\n' << b << '\n' << c << '\n';

  std::cout << '\n';

  std::cout << "fixed:\n" << std::fixed;
  std::cout << a << '\n' << b << '\n' << c << '\n';

  std::cout << '\n';

  std::cout << "scientific:\n" << std::scientific;
  std::cout << a << '\n' << b << '\n' << c << '\n';
  return 0;

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Possible output:




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LVL 32

Assisted Solution

sarabande earned 125 total points (awarded by participants)
ID: 41829350
like printf or sprintf. But there are C++ purists who do not.

printf or sprintf may not only avoided by purists but also by programmers who want to make their software safer, better readable, and less error-prone.

safer: the format string usual provided as literal could be used by malware to hijack the process and run malware code with the access rights of the process. another risk is that the printf statement can be used for a buffer-overflow attack.

better readable: beside of simple formats those statements are an imposition for anyone who has to maintain such code.

error-prone: the compiler neither can check the format nor the arguments. when using sprintf there is no way to validate that the buffer is big enough.

std::cout << "fixed:\n" << std::fixed;

you may use std::setprecision(n) to get n significant digits (rounded at the n-th digit) if used without std::fixed or to get n digits after the decimal point if used with std::fixed.

LVL 32

Expert Comment

ID: 41856702
As the question was posted in the C++ TA, the comment of phoffric showing c++ code samples is the solution.

However, printf and sprintf are widely used to convert and format Integer and Floating Point numbers also in C++ code. therefore Dave Baldwin's suggestion and my comment may serve as a helpful addition to the solution.


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