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# Mastering the Art of Rounding in SQL: A Guide for Beginners

Have you ever been tasked with finding the precise average of a large set of data on SQL? Did you end up with a result that includes too many digits after the decimal point? Fear not, rounding in SQL is easier than you think. Just like how a tailor rounds up or down when measuring fabric for a perfect fit, we can do the same with our data to make it easier to read and understand. In this article, we will go through the basics of rounding in SQL and how you can use it to make your data more presentable.

First and foremost, let’s understand the concept of rounding. Think of a clock face with its numbers. When the hour hand reaches halfway between two numbers, we round up to the larger number. Similarly, when we have a decimal number, we round up or down to the nearest whole number, or to a specified number of decimal places. In SQL, the ROUND function does the same thing. It takes a number and the number of decimal places you want to round it to and returns a value with the specified number of decimal places. Rounding in SQL makes data easier to read and understand, just like how rounding up or down on a clock face makes it easier to tell the time.

## Why Round in SQL?

Before delving into how to round in SQL, it’s important to understand the purpose behind rounding. Rounding a number can help improve readability and make it easier to understand in certain contexts. Additionally, rounding can also be helpful for data analysis and calculations. For example, when working with financial data, rounding can help ensure accuracy and prevent errors in calculations. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how to round in SQL.

## The ROUND Function

The ROUND function is the most commonly used function for rounding in SQL. This function rounds a number to a specified number of decimal places. The syntax for the ROUND function is as follows:

Parameters
Description
`number`
The number to be rounded
`decimal_places`
The number of decimal places to round to

For example, to round the number 3.14159 to 2 decimal places, you would use the following SQL code:

`SELECT ROUND(3.14159, 2);`

The result of this query would be 3.14.

## The CEILING and FLOOR Functions

In addition to the ROUND function, SQL also provides two other rounding functions: CEILING and FLOOR. These functions are used to round a number up or down to the nearest whole number, respectively. The syntax for these functions is as follows:

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Function
Parameters
Description
`CEILING`
`number`
Rounds a number up to the nearest whole number
`FLOOR`
`number`
Rounds a number down to the nearest whole number

For example, to round the number 3.14159 up to the nearest whole number using the CEILING function, you would use the following SQL code:

`SELECT CEILING(3.14159);`

The result of this query would be 4.

## The TRUNC Function

The TRUNC function is another rounding function in SQL. This function truncates a number to a specified number of decimal places, essentially chopping off any decimal places beyond the specified number. The syntax for the TRUNC function is as follows:

Parameters
Description
`number`
The number to be truncated
`decimal_places`
The number of decimal places to truncate to

For example, to truncate the number 3.14159 to 2 decimal places using the TRUNC function, you would use the following SQL code:

`SELECT TRUNC(3.14159, 2);`

The result of this query would be 3.14.

## Conclusion

In conclusion, rounding in SQL can be accomplished using a variety of functions and techniques. The ROUND function is the most commonly used method for rounding to a specific number of decimal places, while the CEILING and FLOOR functions are used for rounding up or down to the nearest whole number. The TRUNC function can be used to chop off decimal places beyond a specified number. By understanding these different rounding methods, you can better manipulate and analyze your data in SQL.

## Using the ROUND Function in SQL

If you want to round a number to a specific number of decimal places, you can use the ROUND function in SQL. The ROUND function takes two arguments: the first argument is the number you want to round, and the second argument is the number of decimal places you want to round to.

## Rounding to One Decimal Place

If you want to round a number to one decimal place using the ROUND function, you would specify a value of 1 for the second argument. For example, if you have the number 3.14159 and you want to round it to one decimal place, you would use the following SQL statement:

Input
Output
SELECT ROUND(3.14159, 1);
3.1

In this example, the output of the ROUND function is 3.1, which is the original number rounded to one decimal place. Note that the number has been rounded down to 3.1 because the next digit after the decimal point is less than 5.

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## Rounding to Two Decimal Places

If you want to round a number to two decimal places using the ROUND function, you would specify a value of 2 for the second argument. For example, if you have the number 3.14159 and you want to round it to two decimal places, you would use the following SQL statement:

Input
Output
SELECT ROUND(3.14159, 2);
3.14

In this example, the output of the ROUND function is 3.14, which is the original number rounded to two decimal places. Note that the number has been rounded down to 3.14 because the next digit after the decimal point is less than 5.

## Rounding to the Nearest Integer

If you want to round a number to the nearest integer using the ROUND function, you would specify a value of 0 for the second argument. For example, if you have the number 3.6 and you want to round it to the nearest integer, you would use the following SQL statement:

Input
Output
SELECT ROUND(3.6, 0);
4

In this example, the output of the ROUND function is 4, which is the original number rounded to the nearest integer. Note that the number has been rounded up to 4 because the next digit after the decimal point is greater than or equal to 5.

## Handling Negative Numbers

When rounding negative numbers, it is important to note that the behavior of the ROUND function is different from rounding positive numbers. For example, if you have the number -3.14159 and you want to round it to two decimal places, you would use the following SQL statement:

Input
Output
SELECT ROUND(-3.14159, 2);
-3.14

In this example, the output of the ROUND function is -3.14, which is the original number rounded to two decimal places. Note that the number has been rounded up to -3.14 because the next digit after the decimal point is greater than or equal to 5. This is because the ROUND function follows the “banker’s rounding” method, which means that for numbers exactly halfway between two integers, it rounds to the nearest even integer.

## Conclusion

The ROUND function in SQL is a useful tool for rounding numbers to a specific number of decimal places or to the nearest integer. By specifying the appropriate arguments, you can customize the behavior of the ROUND function to fit your specific needs. Just be aware of the differences in behavior when rounding negative numbers and remember that the function follows the “banker’s rounding” method.

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## Alternative Ways to Round in SQL

If you’re looking for different ways to perform rounding in SQL, aside from the standard ROUND function, there are a few other techniques that you can use. These methods will enable you to achieve a specific type of rounding that suits your needs more appropriately.

### CEILING

The CEILING function rounds a number up to the nearest integer. For example, if you use the CEILING function to round the number 1.3, it will return the value of 2. The syntax for using the CEILING function is simple:

Syntax
Description
CEILING(number)
Rounds the number up to the nearest integer.

Here’s an example of using the CEILING function in SQL:

`SELECT CEILING(2.5);`

This query will return the value of 3.

### FLOOR

The FLOOR function rounds a number down to the nearest integer. For example, if you use the FLOOR function to round the number 1.8, it will return the value of 1. The syntax for using the FLOOR function is:

Syntax
Description
FLOOR(number)
Rounds the number down to the nearest integer.

Here’s an example of using the FLOOR function in SQL:

`SELECT FLOOR(3.6);`

This query will return the value of 3.

### CAST

The CAST function is not a rounding function, but it can be used to round numbers in SQL. When you cast a number to a specific data type, you can truncate the number to a specified number of decimal places. This technique is often used to round numbers in calculations before they are inserted into a table. The syntax for using the CAST function is:

Syntax
Description
CAST(number AS datatype)
Casts the number to a specific datatype, truncating as necessary.

The “datatype” parameter can be any valid SQL data type that supports decimal places. For example, if you want to round the number 1.23456789 to two decimal places, you would use the following query:

`SELECT CAST(1.23456789 AS DECIMAL(10,2));`

This query will return the value of 1.23.

Using these alternative methods of rounding in SQL can be incredibly useful and practical, as these techniques allow you to perform specific types of rounding and truncation that might not be possible with the standard ROUND function.