Skip to content


Formatting numeric values in JavaScript

Number formatting is one of the most common presentational tasks you'll encounter coding for the web. While there are some built-in methods, it's often necessary to roll up your own solution for a specific use case. Let's explore a few common scenarios and how to handle them.

💬 Note

You may not be familiar with JavaScript's numeric separators, which are used in the examples below. They're syntactic sugar that make large numeric values more readable.

Fixed-point notation without trailing zeros

In fixed-point notation, a number is represented with a fixed number of digits after the decimal point. However, we often want to remove trailing zeros from the result.

In order to do so, we can use Number.prototype.toFixed() to convert the number to a fixed-point notation string. Then, using Number.parseFloat(), we can convert the fixed-point notation string to a number, removing trailing zeros. Finally, we can use a template literal to convert the number to a string.

const toOptionalFixed = (num, digits) =>

toOptionalFixed(1, 2); // '1'
toOptionalFixed(1.001, 2); // '1'
toOptionalFixed(1.500, 2); // '1.5'

Round number to given precision

Rounding a number to a specific number of decimal places is pretty common. We can use Math.round() and template literals to round the number to the specified number of digits. Omitting the second argument, decimals, will round to an integer.

const round = (n, decimals = 0) =>

round(1.005, 2); // 1.01
💬 Note

This function returns a number, instead of a string. This is intentional, as we might want to use the rounded number in further calculations.

Format duration

Converting a number of milliseconds to a human-readable format is a matter of dividing the number by the appropriate values and creating a string for each value. In the following snippet, we'll use an object that contains the appropriate values for day, hour, minute, second, and millisecond, but you can easily adapt it to different needs.

We can use Object.entries() with Array.prototype.filter() to keep only non-zero values. Then, we can use to create the string for each value, pluralizing appropriately. Finally, we can use Array.prototype.join() to combine the values into a string.

const formatDuration = ms => {
  if (ms < 0) ms = -ms;
  const time = {
    day: Math.floor(ms / 86_400_000),
    hour: Math.floor(ms / 3_600_000) % 24,
    minute: Math.floor(ms / 60_000) % 60,
    second: Math.floor(ms / 1_000) % 60,
    millisecond: Math.floor(ms) % 1_000
  return Object.entries(time)
    .filter(val => val[1] !== 0)
    .map(([key, val]) => `${val} ${key}${val !== 1 ? 's' : ''}`)
    .join(', ');

// '1 second, 1 millisecond'
// '397 days, 6 hours, 44 minutes, 15 seconds, 574 milliseconds'

Number of seconds to ISO format

Similarly, formatting the number of seconds to ISO format is also a handful of divisions away. However, we need to handle the sign separately.

We can use in combination with Math.floor() and String.prototype.padStart() to convert each segment to a string. Finally, we can use Array.prototype.join() to combine the values into a string.

const formatSeconds = s => {
  const [hour, minute, second, sign] =
    s > 0
      ? [s / 3_600, (s / 60) % 60, s % 60, '']
      : [-s / 3_600, (-s / 60) % 60, -s % 60, '-'];

  return (
    sign +
    [hour, minute, second]
      .map(v => `${Math.floor(v)}`.padStart(2, '0'))

formatSeconds(200); // '00:03:20'
formatSeconds(-200); // '-00:03:20'
formatSeconds(99_999); // '27:46:39'

Locale-sensitive number formatting

Formatting a number to a locale-sensitive string is also easy using Number.prototype.toLocaleString(). This method allows us to format numbers using the local number format separators.

const formatNumber = num => num.toLocaleString();

formatNumber(123_456); // '123,456' in `en-US`
formatNumber(15_675_436_903); // '15.675.436.903' in `de-DE`

Number to decimal mark

If we want to format a number to a specific locale, we can pass the locale as the first argument to Number.prototype.toLocaleString(). For example, here's how to format a number to use the decimal mark, using the en-US locale.

const toDecimalMark = num => num.toLocaleString('en-US');

toDecimalMark(12_305_030_388.9087); // '12,305,030,388.909'

Number to currency string

When working with currency, it's important to use the appropriate formatting. Luckily, JavaScript's Intl.NumberFormat makes this easy, allowing us to format numbers as currency strings. All we have to do is specify the currency and language format, along with style: 'currency'.

const toCurrency = (n, curr, LanguageFormat = undefined) =>
  Intl.NumberFormat(LanguageFormat, {
    style: 'currency',
    currency: curr,

toCurrency(123_456.789, 'EUR');
// €123,456.79  | currency: Euro | currencyLangFormat: Local
toCurrency(123_456.789, 'USD', 'en-us');
// $123,456.79  | currency: US Dollar | currencyLangFormat: English (USA)
toCurrency(123_456.789, 'USD', 'fa');
// ۱۲۳٬۴۵۶٫۷۹ ؜$ | currency: US Dollar | currencyLangFormat: Farsi
toCurrency(322_342_436_423.2435, 'JPY');
// ¥322,342,436,423 | currency: Japanese Yen | currencyLangFormat: Local
toCurrency(322_342_436_423.2435, 'JPY', 'fi');
// 322 342 436 423 ¥ | currency: Japanese Yen | currencyLangFormat: Finnish

Number to ordinal suffix

Converting a number to its ordinal form (e.g. 1 to 1st, 2 to 2nd, 3 to 3rd, etc.) is also fairly simple, using Intl.PluralRules. We can use to get the correct pluralization category for the number, and then use a lookup dictionary to get the correct suffix. In order for this to produce the correct result, we need to specify the correct locale and the type: 'ordinal' option when constructing the object.

const ordinalsEnUS = {
  one: 'st',
  two: 'nd',
  few: 'rd',
  many: 'th',
  zero: 'th',
  other: 'th',

const toOrdinalSuffix = (num, locale = 'en-US', ordinals = ordinalsEnUS) => {
  const pluralRules = new Intl.PluralRules(locale, { type: 'ordinal' });
  return `${num}${ordinals[]}`;

toOrdinalSuffix(1); // '1st'
toOrdinalSuffix(2); // '2nd'
toOrdinalSuffix(3); // '3rd'
toOrdinalSuffix(4); // '4th'
toOrdinalSuffix(123); // '123rd'

Pad number with leading zeros

Last but not least, you might need to pad a number with leading zeros to a specific length. We can use String.prototype.padStart() to pad the number to the specified length, after converting it to a string.

const padNumber = (n, l) => `${n}`.padStart(l, '0');

padNumber(1_234, 6); // '001234'

More like this

Start typing a keyphrase to see matching snippets.