Article ID: 196652 - Last Review: July 15, 2004 - Revision: 3.2

This article was previously published under Q196652

There are a number of different rounding algorithms available in Microsoft
products. Rounding algorithms range from Arithmetic Rounding in Excel's
Worksheet Round() function to Banker's Rounding in the CInt(), CLng(), and
Round() functions in Visual Basic for Applications. This article describes
what the various Visual Basic for Applications rounding functions do and
provides samples of using the functions. In addition, the article includes
sample functions that implement various rounding algorithms.

The Int() function rounds down to the highest integer less than the value. Both Int() and Fix() act the same way with positive numbers - truncating - but give different results for negative numbers: Int(-3.5) gives -4.

The Fix() function is an example of symmetric rounding because it affects the magnitude (absolute value) of positive and negative numbers in the same way. The Int() function is an example of asymmetric rounding because it affects the magnitude of positive and negative numbers differently.

Excel has similar spreadsheet functions: Int(), Floor(), and RoundDown(). Int() works the same way as Int() does in Visual Basic for Applications. Floor() truncates positive values, but does not work with negative numbers. The RoundDown() function works the same way as the VBA Fix() function.

Microsoft SQL Server has a Round() function that can act like the VBA Fix() function. SQL Server also has a Floor() function, which works the same way as VBA Int() function.

Visual Basic for Applications does not have a corresponding round-up function. However, for negative numbers, both Fix() and Int() can be used to round upward, in different ways.

Fix() rounds towards 0 (up in the absolute sense, but down in terms of absolute magnitude). Fix(-3.5) is -3.5.

Int() rounds away from 0 (up in terms of absolute magnitude, but down in the absolute sense). Int(-3.5) is -4.

However, what about 1.5, which is equidistant between 1 and 2? By convention, the half-way number is rounded up.

You can implement rounding half-way numbers in a symmetric fashion, such that -.5 is rounded down to -1, or in an asymmetric fashion, where -.5 is rounded up to 0.

The following functions provide symmetric arithmetic rounding:

The Excel Round() spreadsheet function.

The SQL Server Round() function can do symmetric arithmetic rounding.

The SQL Server Round() function can do symmetric arithmetic rounding.

The following function provide asymmetric arithmetic rounding:

The Round() method of the Java Math library.

Visual Basic for Applications does not have any function that does arithmetic rounding.

Banker's rounding rounds .5 up sometimes and down sometimes. The convention is to round to the nearest even number, so that both 1.5 and 2.5 round to 2, and 3.5 and 4.5 both round to 4. Banker's rounding is symmetric.

In Visual Basic for Applications, the following numeric functions perform banker's rounding: CByte(), CInt(), CLng(), CCur(), and Round().

There are no Excel spreadsheet functions that perform banker's rounding.

No Microsoft products implement any sort of random rounding procedure.

No Microsoft products implement an alternate rounding procedure.

The following table relates product to implementation:

Product Implementation ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Visual Basic for Applications 6.0 Banker's Rounding Excel Worksheet Symmetric Arithmetic Rounding SQL Server Either Symmetric Arithmetic Rounding or Symmetric Round Down (Fix) depending on arguments Java Math library Asymmetric Arithmetic Rounding

The Round() function in Visual Basic 6.0 and Visual Basic for Applications 6.0 performs banker's rounding. It has an optional second argument that specifies the number of decimal digits to round to:

Debug.Print Round(2.45, 1) returns 2.4.

Number/Int./Fix/Ceiling/Asym. Arith./Sym. Arith./Banker's/Random/Alt. --------------------------------------------------------------------- -2.6 -3 -2 -2 -3 -3 -3 -3 -3 -2.5 -3 -2 -2 -2 -3 -2 -2 -3 -2.4 -3 -2 -2 -2 -2 -2 -2 -2 -1.6 -2 -1 -1 -2 -2 -2 -2 -2 -1.5 -2 -1 -1 -1 -2 -2 -1 -1 -1.4 -2 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -0.6 -1 0 0 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -0.5 -1 0 0 0 -1 0 -1 -1 -0.4 -1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.4 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.5 0 0 1 1 1 0 1 1 0.6 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1.4 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 1.5 1 1 2 2 2 2 1 1 1.6 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2.4 2 2 3 2 2 2 2 2 2.5 2 2 3 3 3 2 3 3 2.6 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 3

Total of all numbers:

Number/Int./Fix/Ceiling/Asym. Arith./Sym. Arith./Banker's/Random/Alt. --------------------------------------------------------------------- 0.0 -9 0 9 3 0 0 1 0

Total of all negative numbers:

Number/Int./Fix/Ceiling/Asym. Arith./Sym. Arith./Banker's/Random/Alt. --------------------------------------------------------------------- -13.5 -18 -9 -9 -12 -15 -13 -13 -14

Total of all positive numbers:

Number/Int./Fix/Ceiling/Asym. Arith./Sym. Arith./Banker's/Random/Alt. --------------------------------------------------------------------- 13.5 9 9 18 15 15 13 14 14

The table shows the difference between the various rounding methods. For randomly distributed positive and negative numbers, Fix(), symmetric arithmetic rounding, banker's rounding, and alternating rounding provide the least difference from actual totals, with random rounding not far behind.

However, if the numbers are either all positive or all negative, banker's rounding, alternating rounding, and random rounding provide the least difference from the actual totals.

The functions provided are:

AsymDown Asymmetrically rounds numbers down - similar to Int(). Negative numbers get more negative. SymDown Symmetrically rounds numbers down - similar to Fix(). Truncates all numbers toward 0. Same as AsymDown for positive numbers. AsymUp Asymmetrically rounds numbers fractions up. Same as SymDown for negative numbers. Similar to Ceiling. SymUp Symmetrically rounds fractions up - that is, away from 0. Same as AsymUp for positive numbers. Same as AsymDown for negative numbers. AsymArith Asymmetric arithmetic rounding - rounds .5 up always. Similar to Java worksheet Round function. SymArith Symmetric arithmetic rounding - rounds .5 away from 0. Same as AsymArith for positive numbers. Similar to Excel Worksheet Round function. BRound Banker's rounding. Rounds .5 up or down to achieve an even number. Symmetrical by definition. RandRound Random rounding. Rounds .5 up or down in a random fashion. AltRound Alternating rounding. Alternates between rounding .5 up or down. ATruncDigits Same as AsyncTrunc but takes different arguments.

All of these functions take two arguments: the number to be rounded and an optional factor. If the factor is omitted, then the functions return an integer created by one of the above methods. If the factor is specified, the number is scaled by the factor to create different rounding effects. For example AsymArith(2.55, 10) produces 2.6, that is, it rounds to 1/factor = 1/10 = 0.1.

NOTE: A factor of 0 generates a run-time error: 1/factor = 1/0.

The following table shows the effects of various factors:

Expression Result Comment -------------------------------------------------------------------- AsymArith(2.5) 3 Rounds up to next integer. BRound(2.18, 20) 2.2 Rounds to the nearest 5 cents (1/20 dollar). SymDown(25, .1) 20 Rounds down to an even multiple of 10.

The exception to the above description is ADownDigits, which is a template function that allows you to specify the number of decimal digits instead of a factor.

Expression Result Comment --------------------------------------------------------------------- ADownDigits(2.18, 1) 2.1 Rounds down to next multiple of 10 ^ -1.

Function AsymDown(ByVal X As Double, _
Optional ByVal Factor As Double = 1) As Double
AsymDown = Int(X * Factor) / Factor
End Function
Function SymDown(ByVal X As Double, _
Optional ByVal Factor As Double = 1) As Double
SymDown = Fix(X * Factor) / Factor
' Alternately:
' SymDown = AsymDown(Abs(X), Factor) * Sgn(X)
End Function
Function AsymUp(ByVal X As Double, _
Optional ByVal Factor As Double = 1) As Double
Dim Temp As Double
Temp = Int(X * Factor)
AsymUp = (Temp + IIf(X = Temp, 0, 1)) / Factor
End Function
Function SymUp(ByVal X As Double, _
Optional ByVal Factor As Double = 1) As Double
Dim Temp As Double
Temp = Fix(X * Factor)
SymUp = (Temp + IIf(X = Temp, 0, Sgn(X))) / Factor
End Function
Function AsymArith(ByVal X As Double, _
Optional ByVal Factor As Double = 1) As Double
AsymArith = Int(X * Factor + 0.5) / Factor
End Function
Function SymArith(ByVal X As Double, _
Optional ByVal Factor As Double = 1) As Double
SymArith = Fix(X * Factor + 0.5 * Sgn(X)) / Factor
' Alternately:
' SymArith = Abs(AsymArith(X, Factor)) * Sgn(X)
End Function
Function BRound(ByVal X As Double, _
Optional ByVal Factor As Double = 1) As Double
' For smaller numbers:
' BRound = CLng(X * Factor) / Factor
Dim Temp As Double, FixTemp As Double
Temp = X * Factor
FixTemp = Fix(Temp + 0.5 * Sgn(X))
' Handle rounding of .5 in a special manner
If Temp - Int(Temp) = 0.5 Then
If FixTemp / 2 <> Int(FixTemp / 2) Then ' Is Temp odd
' Reduce Magnitude by 1 to make even
FixTemp = FixTemp - Sgn(X)
End If
End If
BRound = FixTemp / Factor
End Function
Function RandRound(ByVal X As Double, _
Optional ByVal Factor As Double = 1) As Double
' Should Execute Randomize statement somewhere prior to calling.
Dim Temp As Double, FixTemp As Double
Temp = X * Factor
FixTemp = Fix(Temp + 0.5 * Sgn(X))
' Handle rounding of .5 in a special manner.
If Temp - Int(Temp) = 0.5 Then
' Reduce Magnitude by 1 in half the cases.
FixTemp = FixTemp - Int(Rnd * 2) * Sgn(X)
End If
RandRound = FixTemp / Factor
End Function
Function AltRound(ByVal X As Double, _
Optional ByVal Factor As Double = 1) As Double
Static fReduce As Boolean
Dim Temp As Double, FixTemp As Double
Temp = X * Factor
FixTemp = Fix(Temp + 0.5 * Sgn(X))
' Handle rounding of .5 in a special manner.
If Temp - Int(Temp) = 0.5 Then
' Alternate between rounding .5 down (negative) and up (positive).
If (fReduce And Sgn(X) = 1) Or (Not fReduce And Sgn(X) = -1) Then
' Or, replace the previous If statement with the following to
' alternate between rounding .5 to reduce magnitude and increase
' magnitude.
' If fReduce Then
FixTemp = FixTemp - Sgn(X)
End If
fReduce = Not fReduce
End If
AltRound = FixTemp / Factor
End Function
Function ADownDigits(ByVal X As Double, _
Optional ByVal Digits As Integer = 0) As Double
ADownDigits = AsymDown(X, 10 ^ Digits)
End Function

NOTE: With the exception of Excel's MRound() worksheet function, the built- in rounding functions take arguments in the manner of ADownDigits, where the second argument specifies the number of digits instead of a factor.

The rounding implementations presented here use a factor, like MRound(), which is more flexible because you do not have to round to a power of 10. You can write wrapper functions in the manner of ADownDigits.

Since not all fractional values can be expressed exactly, you might get unexpected results because the display value does not match the stored value.

For example, the number 2.25 might be stored internally as 2.2499999..., which would round down with arithmetic rounding, instead of up as you might expect. Also, the more calculations a number is put through, the greater possibility that the stored binary value will deviate from the ideal decimal value.

If this is the case, you may want to choose a different data type, such as Currency, which is exact to 4 decimal places.

You might also consider making the data types Variant and use CDec() to convert everything to the Decimal data type, which can be exact to 28 decimal digits.

The Round2CB function below is a hard-coded variation that performs banker's rounding to 2 decimal digits, but does not multiply the original number. This avoids a possible overflow condition if the monetary amount is approaching the limits of the Currency data type.

Function Round2CB (ByVal X As Currency) As Currency
Round2CB = CCur(X / 100) * 100
End Function

Function AsymArithDec(ByVal X As Variant, _
Optional ByVal Factor As Variant = 1) As Variant
If Not IsNumeric(X) Then
AsymArithDec = X
Else
If Not IsNumeric(Factor) Then Factor = 1
AsymArithDec = Int(CDec(X * Factor) + .5)
End If
End Function

For example, both 2.5 and 2.51 round up to 3, while both 2.4 and 2.49 round down to 2.

When you use banker's rounding (or other methods that round .5 either up or down) or when you round negative numbers using asymmetric arithmetic rounding, dropping precision can lead to incorrect results where you might not round to the nearest number.

For example, with banker's rounding, 2.5 rounds down to 2 and 2.51 rounds up to 3.

With asymmetric arithmetic rounding, -2.5 rounds up to -2 while -2.51 rounds down to -3.

The user-defined functions presented in this article take the number's full precision into account when performing rounding.

Visual Basic Help, version 6.0; topic: Int, Fix Functions; Round Function

Microsoft Transact SQL Help; topic: Round Function; Floor Function; Ceiling Function

(c) Microsoft Corporation 1998, All Rights Reserved. Contributions by Malcolm Stewart, Microsoft Corporation.

Microsoft Transact SQL Help; topic: Round Function; Floor Function; Ceiling Function

(c) Microsoft Corporation 1998, All Rights Reserved. Contributions by Malcolm Stewart, Microsoft Corporation.

- Microsoft Visual Basic 5.0 Control Creation Edition
- Microsoft Visual Basic 5.0 Learning Edition
- Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0 Learning Edition
- Microsoft Visual Basic 5.0 Professional Edition
- Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0 Professional Edition
- Microsoft Visual Basic 5.0 Enterprise Edition
- Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0 Enterprise Edition
- Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications 5.0
- Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications 6.0
- Microsoft SQL Server 6.0 Standard Edition
- Microsoft SQL Server 6.5 Standard Edition
- Microsoft SQL Server 7.0 Standard Edition

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