Round Down to the Nearest Integer in Excel with the INT Function

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When it comes to rounding numbers, Excel has a number of rounding functions to pick from, and the function you choose depends on the results you want. In the case of the INT function, it will always round a number down to the next lowest integer while removing the decimal portion of a number.

Unlike formatting options that allow you to alter the number of decimal places displayed without affecting the underlying data, the INT function alters the data in your worksheet. Using this function can, therefore, affect the results of calculations.

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INT Function's Syntax and Arguments

Screenshot of Excel showing INT, TRUNC, and MOD Functions

A function's syntax refers to the layout of the function and includes the function's name, brackets, and arguments. The syntax for the INT function is:

= INT ( Number)

Number - (required) the value to be rounded down; this argument can contain:

  • The actual data for rounding - row 2 in the image above.
  • cell reference to the location of the data in the worksheet - row 3 above.
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Entering the INT Function

Screenshot of Excel showing INT Formula

The following example outlines the steps used to enter the INT function into cell B3 in the image above. Options for entering the function and its arguments include:

  1. Typing the complete function: =INT(A3) into cell B3.
  2. Selecting the function and its arguments using the Formula Builder.

Although it is possible to enter the complete function manually, many people find it easier to use the dialog box as it takes care of entering the function's syntax — such as brackets and comma separators between arguments.

The steps below cover entering the INT function using the Formula Builder.

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Opening the Formula Builder

  1.  Click on cell B3 to make it the active cell — this is where the results of the INT function will be displayed.
  2. Click on the Formulas tab of the ribbon menu.
  3. Choose Math & Trig from the ribbon to open the function drop down.
  4. Click on INT in the list to bring up the Formula Builder.
  5. In the box, click on the Number line.
  6. Click on cell A3 in the worksheet to enter that cell reference.
  7. Click Done to complete the function.
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INT vs. TRUNC Function

Screenshot of Excel showing TRUNC Function

The INT function is very similar to another Excel rounding function --  the TRUNC function; both return integers as a result, but they achieve the result differently:

  • INT rounds numbers down to the nearest integer,
  • TRUNC truncates (chops off) the decimal portion of data without rounding.

The difference between the two functions is noticeable with negative numbers. For positive values, as shown in rows 3 and 4 above, both INT and TRUNC return a value of 567 when removing the decimal portion for the number 567.96 in cell A3.

In rows 5 and 6, however, the values returned by the two functions differ: -568 vs. -567 because rounding down negative values with INT means rounding away from zero, while the TRUNC function keeps the integer the same while removing the decimal portion of the number.

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Returning Decimal Values

Screenshot of Excel showing MOD Function

To return the decimal or fractional portion of a number, rather than the integer portion, create a  formula using INT as shown in cell B7. By subtracting the integer portion of the number from the whole number in cell A7, only the decimal 0.96 remains.

An alternative formula can be created using the MOD function as shown in row 8. The MOD function — short for modulus — normally returns on the remainder of a division operation.  

Setting the divisor to — the divisor is the function's second argument — effectively removes the integer portion of any number, leaving only the decimal portion as the remainder.