# How to Use Excel’s Better-Known Rounding Functions: INT, ROUNDUP, ROUNDDOWN, & ROUND

Excel's four better-known functions for rounding numbers are: INT, ROUND, ROUNDUP, and ROUNDDOWN. Here's how to understand and use them in your Excel work.

85 Excel has one way to round up or down from the first generation. In recent generations it has also offered a second method. And it also offers ROUND, which uses a different rounding method.

First, let’s define what we’re talking about. Depending on the function, Excel uses three types of rounding:

Math: Rounding down moves towards zero; rounding up moves away from zero.

Order: Rounding down moves from higher numbers to lower; rounding up moves from lower numbers to higher. (This is my term. If you sort a column of data in descending order, rounding down moves down the column and rounding up moves up the column.)

Precise: Rounding down moves down to the nearest integer, regardless of the sign of the number. Rounding up moves up to the nearest integer, regardless of the sign of the number. (“Precise” is a Microsoft term, by the way.)

Those definitions produce the same results for positive numbers, but different results for negative numbers.

### Using INT

The old way has been to use the INT function. Generally, if we Excel users think about INT at all, we think of it as the function we use to remove decimals from a fractional number. To illustrate:

=INT(123.9) = 123

However, INT actually is more sophisticated than that. INT rounds a number down using the Order rounding method. That is, it rounds a positive number down, towards zero, and a negative number down, away from zero.

To illustrate:

=INT(5.1)  = 5
=INT(-5.1)  = -6

Therefore, it’s easy to use INT to round a number up using the Math method. Just switch its sign; find the INT; then switch the sign of the result.

For example, here’s how to round 123.4 using the Math rounding method (away from zero):

=-INT(-123.4) = 124

And here’s how to round -123.4 down using the Math rounding method (towards zero):

=-INT(–123.4) = -123

### Using ROUNDUP

The ROUNDUP function offers more power to control your results. It uses the Math rounding method.

It takes this form:

=ROUNDUP(number, num_digits)

To illustrate:

=ROUNDUP(5.9,0) = 6
=ROUNDUP(-5.9,0) = -6

Again, ROUNDUP rounds away from zero.

The zeros values for the num_digits argument in these formulas tell Excel to return its results using zero decimal places. A positive number specifies the number of digits to the right of the decimal point; a negative number specifies the number of zeros to the left of the decimal. To illustrate:

=ROUNDUP(12345.0123,3)  =  12345.013
=ROUNDUP(12345.0123,1)  =  12345.1
=ROUNDUP(12345.0123,-1)  =  12350
=ROUNDUP(12345.0123,-3)  =  13000

### Using ROUNDDOWN

The ROUNDDOWN function works like ROUNDUP, but in the opposite direction. It also uses the Math rounding method.

It takes this form:

=ROUNDDOWN(number, num_digits)

To illustrate:

=ROUNDDOWN(5.9,0) = 5
=ROUNDDOWN(-5.9,0) -5

Compare these results to the ROUNDUP version above.

### Compare ROUNDUP and ROUNDDOWN to ROUND

The ROUND function looks quite similar:

=ROUND(number,num_digits)

But it uses the Precise rounding method. That is, it rounds up or down depending on the digits that follow the num_digits argument you specify, without regard to the sign of the number. For example:

=ROUND(5.9,0)  =  6
=ROUND(-5.9,0)  = -6

=ROUND(5.4,0)  =  5
=ROUND(-5.4,0)  = -5

You get similar results when you change the num_digits value, whatever the sign of the number:

=ROUND(12345.0629,3)  =  12345.063
=ROUND(-12345.0629,3) =  -12345.063

=ROUND(12345.0629,2)  =  12345.06
=ROUND(-12345.0629,2) =  -12345.06

=ROUND(12345.0629,1)  =  12345.1
=ROUND(-12345.0629,1) =  -12345.1

=ROUND(12345.0629,-1)  = 12350
=ROUND(-12345.0629,-1) =  -12350

=ROUND(12345.0629,-3)  = 12000
=ROUND(-12345.0629,-3) =  -12000

Now, with four functions to choose from, you should have complete control over your rounding options! Early in my career, I worked nearly 20 years as the CFO of turnarounds and startups. But I eventually got burned out fighting continual struggles with cash flow. That's when I started to write about Lotus 1-2-3, the spreadsheet software that I'd been using most of the time during the CFO days. When Excel was about to be introduced for the PC, one of my magazine editors set up a meeting for me to see the product, talk with the developers, and write a cover story about Excel. So I used the first version of Excel before it was launched. And I had also used the first version of VisiCalc before it was launched. And then,