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

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Excel's INT Function

Removing All Decimals with the INT Function in Excel
Removing All Decimals with the INT Function in Excel. © Ted French

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 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.

The INT Function's Syntax and Arguments

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;
  • a cell reference to the location of the data in the worksheet - row 3 above.

INT Function Example: Round Down to the Nearest Integer

This example outlines the steps used to enter the INT function into cell B3 in the image above.

Entering the INT Function

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 INT function dialog box.

Although it is possible to just 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 function's dialog box.

Opening the PRODUCT Dialog Box

  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 list;
  4. Click on INT in the list to bring up the function's dialog box;
  5. In the dialog box, click on the Number line;
  6. Click on cell A3 in the worksheet to enter that cell reference into the dialog box;
  7. Click OK to complete the function and return to the worksheet;
  8. The answer 567 should appear in cell B3;
  9. When you click on cell B3 the complete function = INT ( B3 ) appears in the formula bar above the worksheet.

INT vs. TRUNC

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.

Returning Decimal Values

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

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