Re: Question about formatting numerals

From: Addison Phillips (
Date: Wed Sep 20 2006 - 17:13:53 CDT

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    Locales that use spaces in digit groups generally use the regular
    non-breaking space character (U+00A0). Less common spaces I would avoid:
    they may not translate well to legacy encodings or might not have glyphs
    available in specific fonts. The "missing glyph" symbol is usually some
    variation on "big hollow box".

    U+00A0 is generally available in most encodings and fonts and has the
    desired effect. Whether it is proportional or not depends, in large
    part, on the font used.


    Addison Phillips
    Globalization Architect -- Yahoo! Inc.
    Internationalization is an architecture.
    It is not a feature.
    Guy Steele wrote:
    > When numerals are to be formatted in formal scientific texts
    > according to the custom of using space to separate the digits
    > in to groups of three, as in "27 312 416.315 67 m/s",
    > what is the recommended Unicode character to use for
    > this separation?  Obvious candidates are
    > U+2006 SIX-PER-EM SPACE
    >     (because then the gap would be equal to the gap caused
    >     by the decimal point?)
    > U+2009 THIN SPACE
    > U+200A HAIR SPACE
    >     (because non-breaking is desirable in running text)
    > What is current practice?  What is recommended by Unicode savants?
    > --Thanks,
    >   Guy Steele
    > ----------------------------------------------------------
    > Appendix
    > I have checked with NIST and IEEE.  NIST Special Publication 811 (1995)
    > at recommends use of "a thin, fixed space":
    >   10.5.3 Grouping digits
    >   Because the comma is widely used as the decimal marker outside
    >   the United States, it should not be used to separate digits into groups
    >   of three. Instead, digits should be separated into groups of three,
    >   counting from the decimal marker towards the left and right, by the
    >   use of a thin, fixed space. However, this practice is not usually
    >   followed for numbers having only four digits on either side of the
    >   decimal marker except when uniformity in a table is desired.
    > See .
    > The style file for IEEE standards specifies grouping-by-threes only for 
    > tables,
    > and specifies only the use of "a space":
    >   15.4.2 Numerical values
    >   To facilitate the comprehension of numbers, digits should be
    >   separated into groups of three, counting from  the decimal point
    >   toward the left and right. The groups should be separated by a space,
    >   rather than by a  comma, period, or dash. If the magnitude of the
    >   number is less than one, the decimal point should be  preceded by a
    >   zero. In numbers of four digits, the space is not necessary, unless
    >   four-digit numbers are  grouped in a column with numbers of five
    >   digits or more.
    > ----------------------------------------------------------

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