Formatting numbers so they confirm to a specific format can be deceivingly tricky. For example, one of the most common tasks is to format a number for currency display- an integer followed by two decimals. You may be tempted to use number rounding to first shift the number's decimal places (via multiplication), round it, then shift the decimal back (via division) to pound the number into your hard earned dollar, though that won't work in many cases. For example, consider the number 120. Number rounding certainly won't get you to 120.00.
The best way to see all the subtleties of toFixed() is to see it in action:
var profits=2489.8237 profits.toFixed(3) //returns 2489.824 (round up) profits.toFixed(2) //returns 2489.82 profits.toFixed(7) //returns 2489.8237000 (padding)
Displaying any number in currency format can't get any easier!
To toPrecision() now:
var anumber=123.45 anumber.toPrecision(6) //returns 123.450 (padding) anumber.toPrecision(4) //returns 123.5 (round up) anumber.toPrecision(2) //returns 1.2e+2 (you figure it out!)
toPrecision() is useful if your number must be of a certain length.
var profits=2489.8237 if (profits.toFixed) //if browser supports toFixed() method profits.toFixed(2)
For those of you who also need to ensure legacy browsers such as IE5 also perform the desired number formatting operation, well, then it's time to roll your own function. But be warned, it won't as pretty as what has taken place here!