Leading 0 change?


I was thinking about the leading 0 (eg 0.1234 vs .1234) in display of numbers on HP calcs over the years. Was it only the introduction of the graphing units that the 0 went away for the default STD format? Or has that been one of the inconstant things over the years that has changed back and forth multiple times?

Any idea for the specific reason? (guessing to save space or something on the screen)


Edited: 5 Oct 2013, 7:52 p.m.


I'm pretty sure that the leading zero was first dropped on the 28C, but surprisingly not on the 18C. If you want to include the computer-like calculators, the 75C/75D/71B also dropped the leading zero by default. Prior to then all the HP calculators that I tested showed a leading zero by default.

Given that the 18C and 28C had the same screen and were designed at roughly the same time, I don't know if screen real estate was the reason, I have no idea what the reason was.

Edited: 5 Oct 2013, 8:39 p.m.


Strange. Might be one of those "we'll never know for sure" type things.

On the 48 series at least, doing the value while in "fix" does have the leading 0. Maybe the idea was to distinguish between those two modes or something.



OT: I very much prefer the leading zero for visual clarity.







1 +

(This being an HP forum, after all)



No idea why some calcs stripped the leading zero, but I'd suggest making it configurable:-)

For the 28C/18C Katie mentionned: Maybe the tech guys thought: Why showing a superfluous zero, whilst the finance guys said the zero is the base of the billion;-)



I think the business for dropping the leading zero is unsustainable.


I'm happy that my 35s shows a leading zero. I think if it didn't I'd be seriously annoyed. It's very easy to miss a leading decimal point, both on calcs and in real life. It also looks wrong, as if there's something missing, especially when a comma is used. I get the impression that dropping the zero is an American practice; it doesn't seem to happen in European material.


It may have become an American practice, but I always "dinged" students who did it. It's especially dangerous when the value has a single zero after the decimal (eg .0123 vs 0.0123), it's easy for the mind to flip the ".0" into "0.", giving 0.123 which is, of course, wrong.


It may have become an American practice

I'm not sure if it is an American practice or not, but I do know that it is a standard practice in the design engineering field for use on drawings.

Since the decimal point is small and can get lost in the reproduction of the drawings, we always use a leading zero to denote that a decimal point is present. That way there is no ambiguity.



Since the decimal point is small and can get lost in the reproduction of the drawings, we always use a leading zero to denote that a decimal point is present. That way there is no ambiguity.

Legibility! This is no doubt the reason why HP used an entire digit for the decimal point in all its calculators for many yeas. The Compucorp series of calculators did this too even the WANG calculators used this method -- and this was when displays were expensive, the early Wang calculators had Nixie tubes. The TI calculators didn't do this and I thought it made them difficult to use.

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