Base R offers the "digits" and "scipen" options to control the number of significant digits and the switch to scientific notation. For pillar, the options "pillar.sigfig" and "pillar.max_dec_width" fulfill a similar purpose. This vignette showcases similarities and differences. See ?"pillar-package" for an overview over all options.

Digits

The default for getOption("digits") is 7, whereas the "pillar.sigfig" option defaults to 3. In the default setting, pillar prints the first three digits only (i.e. the digits that represent > 99.9% of the value of the number). Another difference is that pillar will show at most the specified number of significant digits, even if space is available. The rationale is to allow a quick glance over the most significant digits of a number, without spending too much horizontal space and without distraction from insignificant digits.

options(digits = 3)
c(1.2345, 12.345, 123.45, 1234.5, 12345)
#> [1]     1.23    12.35   123.45  1234.50 12345.00
pillar(c(1.2345, 12.345, 123.45, 1234.5, 12345))
#> <pillar>
#>    <dbl>
#>     1.23
#>    12.3 
#>   123.  
#>  1234.  
#> 12345

Terminal zeros are only shown in pillar if there is a nonzero value past the significant digits shown. This is in contrast to base R where terminal zeros are always shown if there is space, but hidden if the value is too insignificant:

c(1, 1.00001)
#> [1] 1 1
pillar(c(1, 1.00001))
#> <pillar>
#> <dbl>
#>  1   
#>  1.00

A trailing decimal separator is shown if there is a fractional part but the integer part already exceeds the significant digits. The presence of the decimal separator does not indicate that the number is larger, only that there exists a nonzero fractional part:

c(123, 123.45, 567.89)
#> [1] 123 123 568
pillar(c(123, 123.45, 567.89))
#> <pillar>
#> <dbl>
#>  123 
#>  123.
#>  568.

To show more significant digits, set the "pillar.sigfig" option to a larger value:

options(digits = 7)
options(pillar.sigfig = 7)
c(1.2345, 12.345, 123.45, 1234.5, 12345)
#> [1]     1.2345    12.3450   123.4500  1234.5000 12345.0000
pillar(c(1.2345, 12.345, 123.45, 1234.5, 12345))
#> <pillar>
#>      <dbl>
#>     1.2345
#>    12.345 
#>   123.45  
#>  1234.5   
#> 12345

Setting "pillar.sigfig" to a larger value will not enhance the display with digits deemed insignificant:

options(digits = 7)
options(pillar.sigfig = 7)
c(1.2345, 12.3456, 123.4567, 1234.5678, 12345.6789)
#> [1]     1.2345    12.3456   123.4567  1234.5678 12345.6789
pillar(c(1.2345, 12.3456, 123.4567, 1234.5678, 12345.6789))
#> <pillar>
#>      <dbl>
#>     1.2345
#>    12.3456
#>   123.4567
#>  1234.568 
#> 12345.68

To show a fixed number of decimal digits, use num() with a digits argument:

num(c(1.2345, 12.345, 123.45, 1234.5, 12345), digits = 2)
#> <pillar_num:.2![5]>
#> [1]     1.23    12.35   123.45  1234.50 12345.00

See vignette("numbers") for details.

Scientific notation

Both base R and pillar switch to scientific notation when the decimal representation becomes too wide. The larger getOption("scipen"), the stronger the resistance to switching to scientific notation. The default 0 seems to be anchored at 13 digits for the integer part.

123456789012
#> [1] 123456789012
123456789012.3
#> [1] 123456789012
1234567890123
#> [1] 1.234568e+12
1234567890123.4
#> [1] 1.234568e+12
options(scipen = 1)
1234567890123
#> [1] 1234567890123
12345678901234
#> [1] 1.234568e+13
12345678901234.5
#> [1] 1.234568e+13

The "pillar.max_dec_width" option is similar, it indicates the width that must be exceeded for a switch to scientific notation to happen. This width includes the decimal separator.

pillar(123456789012)
#> <pillar>
#>        <dbl>
#> 123456789012
pillar(123456789012.3)
#> <pillar>
#>         <dbl>
#> 123456789012.
pillar(1234567890123)
#> <pillar>
#>         <dbl>
#> 1234567890123
pillar(1234567890123.4)
#> <pillar>
#>       <dbl>
#> 1.234568e12
options(pillar.max_dec_width = 14)
pillar(1234567890123)
#> <pillar>
#>         <dbl>
#> 1234567890123
pillar(12345678901234)
#> <pillar>
#>          <dbl>
#> 12345678901234
pillar(12345678901234.5)
#> <pillar>
#>       <dbl>
#> 1.234568e13

To avoid switching to scientific notation, set the "pillar.max_dec_width" option to a large value. Note that if the required width is not available to show the column, it will not be shown at all in this case. The notation argument to num() offers more options:

num(12345678901234567, notation = "dec")
#> <pillar_num(dec)[1]>
#> [1] 12345678901234568
num(12345678901234567, notation = "sci")
#> <pillar_num(sci)[1]>
#> [1] 1.234568e16
num(12345678901234567, notation = "eng")
#> <pillar_num(eng)[1]>
#> [1] 12.34568e15
num(12345678901234567, notation = "si")
#> <pillar_num(si)[1]>
#> [1] 12.34568P