Related article: Truncating Data in Excel
To truncate means to shorten by cutting off abruptly.
In spreadsheet programs such as Excel truncating is done for a variety of reasons including:
- making it easier to understand data - such as reducing the number of decimal places present in a long number
- making items fit - such as limiting the length of text data that can be entered into a data field
An example of truncating a number would be shortening 5.15426665 to 5.1542 without rounding the last digit according to the rules for rounding numbers.
A truncation error is an error caused by using a truncated number in calculations. For manual calculations involving only a few digits these errors are seldom significant.
In the case of computer computations involving data with a large number of decimal places the error can be quite significant.
Truncating Numerical Data n Excel
In Excel truncating numbers can be accomplished using the TRUNC function.
Truncating Text Data in Excel
The decision where to truncate text data depends on the situation.
In the case of imported data, only a portion of the data might be pertinent or, as mentioned above, there may be a limit on the number of characters that can be entered into a field.
Functions that can be used to truncate text are listed below