Scientific notation

Updated: 12/26/2023 by Computer Hope
scientific notation

A method of writing a large or small numbers, scientific notation is an integer between 1 and 10 multiplied by the power of 10. For example, "987,000,000" could be written in scientific notation as 9.87 * 108, 9.87 * 10^8, or 9.87e+8.

Steps to convert a real number into a scientific notation

  1. Place a decimal point after the first digit. If we were using the same number we used above, the decimal point would be placed after the nine.
  2. Complete the remainder of the number excluding the trailing zeros. In our example, 9.87 is known as the coefficient.
  3. To find the exponent, count all the digits up to the decimal point. Because our number was nine digits long, this would mean we have an exponent of eight.

Steps to convert a scientific notation into a real number

  1. Assuming our scientific notation was "8.01+E5."
  2. Calculate 8.01 * 10 * 10 * 10 * 10 * 10 (eight multiplied by ten thousand). Or, move the decimal five places to the right.
  3. The answer for this scientific notation should be "801000."


  1. Open the calculator on your computer.
  2. Enter 8.01
  3. Press E for exponent.
  4. Enter 5 and press Enter.

Scientific format

In Microsoft Excel and other spreadsheet programs, Scientific is a number format that allows numbers to be formatted in scientific notation format.


Use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+6 to change a cell format to scientific.

E, Exponent, Number, Real number, Spreadsheet terms