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Community Tip - Want the oppurtunity to discuss enhancements to PTC products? Join a working group! X

Add a result formatting option in Mathcad to display a given number of significant figures rather than a specified number of decimal places.

4-Participant

Even better; have the option to define an entered number as exact (i.e., infinite sig figs) or as entered, and have Mathcad results calculate and display results with correct sig figs (will help keep user honest!).

11-Garnet

I am a structural engineer and I find this to be important.  Most things I design involve putting together materials (steel, wood, concrete, plastics, etc.) into a structural unit.  But all these materials have properties and strengths with at most three significant digits.  To say it in another way, "I can only buy three digits."  Or another application is that I could sum up all the bits that are being lifted in a heavy crane lift giving lots of significant digits, but the crane capacity charts only list capacities with three digits.  So, at least from my industry and perspective, I really only need three significant digits in all my calculations.  That applies to every building bridge, dam, electrical plat, warehouse, etc. across the entire world.

Another example:  A number of 12042.32 lbs would be comprised of mostly fake numbers.  Also, I could reduce the decimal places and it would look like 12084 (not as bad).  But there is no way I am changing it into 12.1•10^3.  That is even harder to read and, quite frankly, looks ugly.  I can also switch my units to 'kips' and that would help me get to the number of significant digits I need but sometimes a certain unit is expected or common as a result so changing is not as practical.

I want my calculations to be exact and to look as simple and clean as possible.  Someone else needs to review my work and I want to take every effort to making my presentation easy for them to do so.

And don't get me started on SI units in structural engineering!!!  There are some results, like moment of inertia, that will need the 'fix' formatting.  But still all these numbers will only have at most three significant digits.

I understand that keeping the full calculated number is important to combat rounding errors, and Mathcad can still do that in the background.