Kevin Schaul

Visual journalist/hacker

Formatting numbers in javascript with Intl.NumberFormat()

August 18, 2023

When formatting numbers for readability, say in a table, I’ve typically used d3-format. But I could never get it to do exactly what I wanted.

Well I just learned there’s a built-in for this now: Intl.NumberFormat(). The constructor takes two arguments: A locale (like ’en-us’)`, and an extensive set of options. You can almost certainly get this to format numbers exactly how you want them.

In my case, I wanted 62,829,251,930 to become 62.8 billion, and 5,760,646,320 to become 5.8 billion. This formatter does it!

const format = Intl.NumberFormat('en-us', {
  // "compact" rounds and adds suffixes like "billion"
  notation: 'compact',
  // "long" makes it spell out "billion" rather than just "B"
  compactDisplay: 'long',
  // These ensure I get one digit after the decimal point,
  // which I want so the numbers line up nicely in a table
  minimumFractionDigits: 1,
  maximumFractionDigits: 1,

// => "62.8 billion"

Read the docs here