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How Do You Determine the Number of Significant Figures?

Aug 21, 2021


When using measurements in different mathematical or engineering calculations, the accuracy and precision of those numbers are quite important.

You can’t get an accurate result if your measurements are off. Also, using inaccurate or long measurements can also lead to human errors when doing calculations.

How can you make sure that you are using accurate and precise measurements? This is where the concept of Significant Figures comes into play!

Significant Figures help mathematicians and scientists make correct assessments with their calculations. Using the significant figures, you can pinpoint the terms in a value that matters.

In this article, we are going to share with you everything you need to know about Significant Figures and how you can determine them for different mathematical calculations.

The Importance of Significant Figures for Mathematical and Engineering Calculations

Significant Figures are meaningful digits in a value that are important and that can represent the whole message accurately, which is supposed to be represented by the original value.

When we talk about Significant Figures, precision and accuracy are two terms that are associated with them.

Let’s say you have a number, when you find significant figures for that number, you actually talk about the precision and accuracy of that number.

The identification of the significant figures in a value enables you to determine the numbers in a value that contributes to the precision and accuracy of the input value.

How Can You Find the Total Number of Significant Figures in a Value?

There are multiple methods that you can use to determine the number of Significant Figures. You can either do it manually, by learning the rules, or by using the online Sig Fig calculator.

Let’s go over the most basic and simple methods for finding Significant Figures that you can use.

The Rules for Significant Figures

The most basic method and the one that we recommend that everyone should learn is the one that uses the rules for determining significant figures.

There are certain pre-established rules that you can use to identify significant figures.

Here is an overview of the rules that you can use to identify significant figures:

  • In a value, all non-zero numbers are significant.

For example, in the terms 79089 and 9303.39, there are 5 and significant digits respectively.

  • In a value, if one or more zeros come between two non-zero numbers, then those zeros would be significant.

For example, in the term 3783.0093, there are a total of 8 significant digits. The zeros in this term come between 2 non-zero digits so the condition holds.

  • In a value, if zeros come at the right of the decimal point and on the left of the non-zero digits, then those zeros are insignificant.

For example, in the value 0.00098, there are just 2 significant digits. Those are 9 and 8.

  • In a value, if zeros appear on the right of the decimal point and are not followed by a non-zero digit, then those zeros would be significant.

For example, in the value 90.00, there are 4 significant numbers.

  • In a value, if zeros appear on the right of the last non-zero digit after the decimal point are significant.

For example, in the value 0.000987900, there are 6 significant values.

The Sig Fig Calculator

When it comes to determining the significant figures, there is an easier way that is recommended for you if you don’t want to waste your time on manual calculation.                                            

Our Sig Fig counter is a powerful tool developed for students and academic professionals that they can use to calculate significant figures.

Here is how you can use this calculator to determine the number of significant figures:

  1. Enter the number in the calculator to determine significant figures
  2. Select the Round Value using the scroll bar
  3. Click on the Calculate button on the Sig Fig calculator

This is all there is to it! The calculator will give you the total number of Significant Figures, as well as the decimal numbers in the input value.

And not just that, the calculator also tells you the E-Notation and Scientific Notation for the input number.

Benefits of Sig Fig Calculator

  • Free to Use

The sig fig calculator is completely free to use. There are no hidden charges associated with the use of this calculator. You can simply just visit our website and start using this tool without any kind of signup or registration requirement.

This is what makes the Sig fig calculator stand out from all the other academic calculators out there.

  • Fast and Accurate Performance

The performance of the sig fig calculator is quite fast and accurate. It is one of the fastest online significant figure calculators that you can find out there.

The significant figure calculation speed of this software is quite amazing. If you ever need to find significant figures in a short period of time, then using the Significant Figures would be the best choice for you.

  • 24/7 Availability

The Sig Fig calculator is available 24/7. You can use this calculator whenever you want to, without any kind of usage restrictions.

Unlike most free calculators, there are no maximum usage limitations with the Sig -Fig calculator. You can use it for as long as you want to, and process different values to find the significant numbers in them.

  • Works on Mobile Devices

The Sig Fig calculators work exceptionally well on mobile devices. You can use it on your phone, which takes the ease of access to a whole new level.

Whether you are using a phone or a tablet, you can use this calculator to find significant figures without any kind of hardware limitations.

Wrapping Up

Significant Figures are important for every mathematical calculation that requires an extreme level of precision and accuracy. Learning to identify significant numbers is a valuable skill that can go a long way for you in your academic career.

And if you are ever short on time when finding significant figures, you can always use the Sig Fig calculator to identify the significant figures in the concerned values.

Go over the concepts for significant figures that we have talked about here. And if you have any questions about significant figure calculation, feel free to reach out to us.