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sprintf question

Can I align a list of currency values on the decimal points using sprintf?

I hate sprintf. I've never been able to learn the syntax for whatever reason. My brain just won't absorb it.
Permalink Mark Warner 
January 12th, 2006
Short answer: yes. Off the top of my head it'd be something like sprintf('%5.2f', $number) -- that'd pad up to five digits to the left of the decimal with spaces, give you 2 digits after, and right align it -- but it's one of those things I almost always have to look up, or end up rolling my own functions that work in a way more conducive to my method of thinking. (I'm also assuming PHP, but AFAIK [s]printf is one of those C/Java/PHP/whatever impkementations that's pretty standard.)
Permalink Mat Hall 
January 12th, 2006
Also bear in mind I've not eaten for >48 hours and consumed several beers this evening whilst sitting through a frankly appalling amateur pantomime, so I may be talking through my hat...
Permalink Mat Hall 
January 12th, 2006
I think you can, but you'd best look it up in a reference. I don't think Mat is quite right, since the number after the % is always the total field width. Thus %5.2f means total width 5, decimal places 2.

What you most likely need is decimal places 2, always displayed; in other words you need 752.00 rather than 752, which you might otherwise get. You need the flags for always showing the decimal point and right padding with zeros. I forget how to do it without looking it up myself.
Permalink Ian Boys 
January 12th, 2006
This is how to do it in a real language like C++.

From :

This is an advanced topic, because displaying currency is more complex than it may appear at first sight. There is an advanced C++ feature called "locale" that can handle this problem in a powerful way, but it is not enabled on many compilers (and not yet on the very common compiler I have chosen for this tutorial). Here is a way to display currency:

#include <iostream>
#include <iomanip>
#include <string>

using namespace std;

void showCurrency(double dv, int width = 14)
const string radix = ".";
const string thousands = ",";
const string unit = "$";
unsigned long v = (unsigned long) ((dv * 100.0) + .5);
string fmt,digit;
int i = -2;
do {
if(i == 0) {
fmt = radix + fmt;
if((i > 0) && (!(i % 3))) {
fmt = thousands + fmt;
digit = (v % 10) + '0';
fmt = digit + fmt;
v /= 10;
while((v) || (i < 1));
cout << unit << setw(width) << fmt.c_str() << endl;

int main()
double x = 12345678.90;
while(x > .001) {
x /= 10.0;
return 0;
Permalink son of parnas 
January 12th, 2006

This topic was orginally posted to the off-topic forum of the
Joel on Software discussion board.

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