darksky - 1 year ago 254
Python Question

# Python 3 Float Decimal Points/Precision

I am reading a text file with floating point numbers, all with either 1 or 2 decimal points. I am using

`float()`
to convert a line into a float, and raising a
`ValueError`
if that fails. I am storing all floats in a list. When printing it out, I'd like to print it out as a 2 decimal places floating point.

Assume I have a text file with the numbers -3,65, 9,17, 1. I read each one, and once I convert them to float and append them to a list. Now in Python 2, calling
`float(-3.65)`
returns
`-3.65`
. In Python 3 however,
`float(-3.65) returns`
-3.6499999999999999` which loses its precision.

I want to print the list of floats,
`[-3.6499999999999999, 9.1699999999999999, 1.0]`
with 2 decimal points only. Doing something along the lines of
`'%.1f' % round(n, 1)`
would return a string. How can I return a list of all two decimal points of floats, and not strings? So far, I rounded it using
`[round(num, 2) for num in list]`
but would need to set the decimal points / precision instead of
`round()`
.

In a word, you can't.

`3.65` cannot be represented exactly as a `float`. The number that you're getting is the nearest number to `3.65` that has an exact `float` representation.

The difference between (older?) Python 2 and 3 is purely due to the default formatting.

I am seeing the following both in Python 2.7.3 and 3.3.0:

``````In [1]: 3.65
Out[1]: 3.65

In [2]: '%.20f' % 3.65
Out[2]: '3.64999999999999991118'
``````

For an exact decimal datatype, see `decimal.Decimal`.

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