The difference between significant figures and rounding numbers

significant figures

All those the number that is starting from a non-zero digit and expressing the number to require a degree of accuracy is recognized as significant figures. Of a number that is used to express it to the required degree of accuracy, starting from the first non-zero digit. Now let’s suppose any random number. If a digit that is instantaneously present to the right side of the latest significant figure is larger than 5 and followed by any non-zero digits, then we will simply add 1 to the last significant figure and increase it by 1. This process is known as rounding off. 

Significant figures calculator and rounding number calculator provide the opportunity to make calculation simple and express the numbers in standard form effortlessly.

Example of significant figures

Numbers  Number of significant figures explanation
0.00682 There are 3 significant figures; 682 Present zeros are not significant in this example. You can take help from a significant figure calculator online to clarify it for more understanding.
1.072 There are four significant figures; 1072. Zero is present between two non-zero digits that is why it will also be considered as significant.
300 There is only 1 significant figure, that is 3. There is no specified decimal point; therefore, zeros will be considered as non-significant. For instance, in the case of “300.” There are three significant figures because of the presence of decimals after zeros.
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Example of rounding number

Numbers Rounding numbers Explanation
1234 The Rounded number will be 1200. In this case, the tens digit that is 3 is less than 5. Therefore it will be rounded down to 1200.  If instead of 3, we have a number that is greater than 5, then we will round up the given number.
261 The Rounded number will be 300.  In this case, the tenth number is 6. It is greater than 5, so we will round up the number to 300. 

Difference between the rules for Significant Figures

Significant figure rules

Rounding off number rules

All those numbers that are recognized as non-zero numbers are significant figures. You can also take help from any sig fig calculator online to identify the non-significant and significant zeros.  Once you have the number to round off, just look at the digits that are present on the right side. If the digit is 1 2 3 4, then you will not change it as it is less than 5.
All those Zeros that are present in between the two non-zero digits will also be considered as significant.   If the digit is greater than 5, then you will increase the number by 1.
All the leading zeros in any given number will be considered as non-significant.  Such as in 300, the last two zeros are non-significant. In case of decimals, look at the right side of the digit, and If that digit is less than 5, just drop all digits to the right side of your number. 
Trailing zeros that are located to the right of the decimal point are significant. For example, in 1.008, both zeros are significant figures. Any online Sig fig counter is well established to label such zeros as sig figs.  If the digit after the decimal point is larger than 5, we will just add 1 to the rounding digit. All those digits present to the right side will be dropped off.  
Trailing zeros that are present in any whole number even with the decimal point are sig figs. The use of the sig fig calculator is a well-organized way to deal with such numbers without any mistake. There are some categories to round any given number. Consider 765.3682 it will be rounded off as follows: 

  • It will become 1,000 when we round it off to the nearest 1000th
  • It will become 800 when we round it off to the nearest 100th.
  • While rounding it off to the nearest 10, it will become 770. 
  • If we round it off to the nearest one, it will become 765. 
  • While rounding it off to the nearest 10th, it will become 765.4.
  • 765.37 will be written in case of the nearest 100th
  • 765.368 will be written in the case of the nearest 1,000th.
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