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Writing a letter to Americans, I have wondered how to properly typeset amounts of money. As far as I know, the $-sign is supposed to precede the number, but I am clueless of the rest.

Here are some combinations I can think of:






I can't say any of them actually pleases the eye:

enter image description here

Are there any conventions as to how to typeset amounts of (American) money?

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According to the European Commission Style Guide, "the [currency] symbol (...) precedes the amount and is followed by a thin space" (p. 75). For grouping of thousands, "Do not use either commas or points but insert thin spaces" (p. 24). –  Jake Nov 6 '12 at 16:56
There are different styles it seems, New Hart's Rules say "Where symbols or abbreviations, are used, such as [...] $ (dollar sign) [...], they precede the figures. There is no space after symbols, but some styles use a space after abbreviations;" –  Torbjørn T. Nov 6 '12 at 18:59
FWIW, Wikipedia's style is also unspaced: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style#Currencies –  Torbjørn T. Nov 6 '12 at 19:26
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1 Answer

up vote 11 down vote accepted

It is probably overkill, but I usually use siunitx. Here is an example


  group-four-digits = true,
  group-separator = {,}


I looked in my bank account and saw  \SI{15}[\$]{M}!
But then I woke up, and there was only \SI{457.34}[\$]{}.
I cried a little, but then I got paid and there was \SI{2456.23}[\$]{}.


Output produced from the above example

This shows a compact way of writing large numbers (the $15M), the typesetting of normal amounts ($457.34) and the way siunitx will sort out where to put the commas (in the $2,456.23).

Depending on the font you use, you might want to put in the $\,$, if it looks too cramped to you. In the above example, I probably would. But it is easy to define a macro to wrap that in:


UPDATE: I based on the comments, I should add that in the US, the SI standard of using a thin space to group triplets is not well followed. For me, it is certainly preferable to follow the standard, but consider your audience. If you can get away with it, use group-separator = {\,}.

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Your macro with group-separator = {\,} would fit the recommendation Jake found, correct? –  Raphael Nov 6 '12 at 18:13
@Raphael : That is correct. I should add that the SI standard isn't well followed in the US. As a scientist, I prefer thin spaces as separators, since this is what we use in journals. But my business parters are never very comfortable when I use the SI standard. –  Timtro Nov 6 '12 at 19:21
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