Java Formatting Numbers

Java Formatting Numbers


Problem

You need to format numbers.

Solution

Use a NumberFormat subclass.

Java has not traditionally provided a C-style printf /scanf functions because they tend
to mix together formatting and input/output in a very inflexible way. Programs using
printf /scanf can be very hard to internationalize, for example.

Java has an entire package, java.text , full of formatting routines as general and flexi-
ble as anything you might imagine. As with printf, it has an involved formatting lan-
guage, described in the Javadoc page. Consider the presentation of long numbers. In
North America, the number one thousand twenty-four and a quarter is written
1,024.25, in most of Europe it is 1 024,25, and in some other part of the world it
might be written 1.024,25. Not to mention how currencies and percentages are for-
matted! Trying to keep track of this yourself would drive the average small software
shop around the bend rather quickly.

Fortunately, the java.text package includes a Locale class, and, furthermore, the
Java runtime automatically sets a default Locale object based on the user’s environ-
ment; e.g., on the Macintosh and Windows, the user’s preferences; on Unix, the
user’s environment variables. (To provide a nondefault locale, see Recipe 15.8.) To
provide formatters customized for numbers, currencies, and percentages, the
NumberFormat class has static factory methods that normally return a DecimalFormat
with the correct pattern already instantiated. A DecimalFormat object appropriate to
the user’s locale can be obtained from the factory method NumberFormat.
getInstance( ) and manipulated using set methods. Surprisingly, the method
setMinimumIntegerDigits( ) turns out to be the easy way to generate a number for-
mat with leading zeros. Here is an example:

import java.text.*;
import java.util.*;
/*
* Format a number our way and the default way.
*/
public class NumFormat2 {
/** A number to format */
public static final double data[] = {
0, 1, 22d/7, 100.2345678
};
/** The main (and only) method in this class. */
public static void main(String av[]) {
// Get a format instance
NumberFormat form = NumberFormat.getInstance( );
// Set it to look like 999.99[99]
form.setMinimumIntegerDigits(3);
form.setMinimumFractionDigits(2);
form.setMaximumFractionDigits(4);
// Now print using it.
for (int i=0; i<data.length; i++)
System.out.println(data[i] + "\tformats as " +
form.format(data[i]));
}
}

This prints the contents of the array using the NumberFormat instance form :

$ java NumFormat2
0.0
formats as 000.00
1.0
formats as 001.00
3.142857142857143
formats as 003.1429
100.2345678
formats as 100.2346
$

You can also construct a DecimalFormat with a particular pattern or change the pat- tern dynamically using applyPattern( ) . Some of the more common pattern charac- ters are shown in Table
Table DecimalFormat pattern characters

Character                                                                            Meaning

#                                                                    Numeric digit (leading zeros suppressed)

0                                                                      Numeric digit (leading zeros provided)

.                                                                  Locale-specific decimal separator (decimal point)

,                                                              Locale-specific grouping separator (comma in English)

-                                                              Locale-specific negative indicator (minus sign)

%                                                             Shows the value as a percentage

;                                    Separates two formats: the first for positive and the second for negative values

'                                             Escapes one of the above characters so it appears
                                                                   Anything else Appears as itself


The NumFormatTest program uses one DecimalFormat to print a number with only two
decimal places and a second to format the number according to the default locale:

// NumFormatTest.java
/** A number to format */
public static final double intlNumber = 1024.25;
/** Another number to format */
public static final double ourNumber = 100.2345678;
NumberFormat defForm = NumberFormat.getInstance( );
NumberFormat ourForm = new DecimalFormat("##0.##");
// toPattern( ) shows the combination of #0., etc
// that this particular local uses to format with
System.out.println("defForm's pattern is " +
((DecimalFormat)defForm).toPattern( ));
System.out.println(intlNumber + " formats as " +
defForm.format(intlNumber));
System.out.println(ourNumber + " formats as " +
ourForm.format(ourNumber));
System.out.println(ourNumber + " formats as " +
defForm.format(ourNumber) + " using the default format");

This program prints the given pattern and then formats the same number using several formats:

$ java NumFormatTest
defForm's pattern is #,##0.###
1024.25 formats as 1,024.25
100.2345678 formats as 100.23
100.2345678 formats as 100.235 using the default format
$

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