# [Rd] signif {base}: changes to scientific notation

**Wolfram Fischer - Z/I/M
**
wolfram@fischer-zim.ch

*Fri Feb 7 11:14:02 2003*

format() did not well the job I wanted.
But I arrived to solve my problem using (e.g.):
formatC( signif( 1.234 * 10^(1:8), 3 ), digits=7, flag='-' )
--- In reply to: ---
>*Date: 06.02.03 15:53 (+0000)
*>*From: ripley@stats.ox.ac.uk
*>*To: To Wolfram Fischer - Z/I/M
*>*Cc: r-devel@stat.math.ethz.ch
*>*Subject: Re: [Rd] signif {base}: changes to scientific notation
*>*
*>* You are confusing signif() and printing!
*>*
*>* signif() returns a real number.
*>*
*>* Printing does exactly what it is described to do, and has no concept of
*>* how the number was produced.
*>*
*>* I guess you were looking for format(), which allows more control.
*>*
*>* On Thu, 6 Feb 2003, Wolfram Fischer - Z/I/M wrote:
*>*
*>* > PROBLEM
*>* > `signif' does change to scientic notation
*>* > at different levels depending on the number
*>* > of significant digits in the input.
*>* >
*>* > This can generate tables where figures change
*>* > ``irregularly'' from normal to scientific notation.
*>* >
*>* >
*>* > PROPOSAL
*>* > The change to the scientific notation should
*>* > be made only if the figure in scientific notation
*>* > - with potentially as many significant digits as
*>* > given as argument to the call of `signif' -
*>* > would be shorter than the figure in normal notation.
*>*
*>* This is a misunderstanding of what is happening
*>*
*>* --
*>* Brian D. Ripley, ripley@stats.ox.ac.uk
*>* Professor of Applied Statistics, http://www.stats.ox.ac.uk/~ripley/
*>* University of Oxford, Tel: +44 1865 272861 (self)
*>* 1 South Parks Road, +44 1865 272866 (PA)
*>* Oxford OX1 3TG, UK Fax: +44 1865 272595
*