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How to create a formatted string from a number with the Intl.NumberFormat API

The browser-native Intl API was designed to help developer internationalize their content more easily.

Today, we’re going to be looking at the Intl.NumberFormat() constructor, which can be used to format numbers. Let’s dig in!

Formatting a number into a string

Let’s imagine you have a big number, like this.

let num = 1234567890987654321;

To display it in the UI, you want to convert it to a formatted string with thousands separators so that it’s easier to read. This is what the Intl.NumberFormat() object was made for!

First, we’ll create a formatter object. The Inte.NumberFormat() constructor requires the locale you want to use as an argument. For this example, let’s use en-US for US English.

let formatter = Intl.NumberFormat('en-US');

Now, we can run the Intl.NumberFormat.format() method on our formatter object and pass the number into it to get back a formatted string.

// returns '1,234,567,890,987,654,400'
let str = formatter.format(num);

Here’s a demo.

Different locales use location-aware formatting

In our previous example, I used en-US as the locale. But in some languages, periods are used instead of commas to separate thousands.

For example, if we passed es-ES in (for Spanish as spoken in Spain), we would get a different string.

let formatterEs = Intl.NumberFormat('es-ES');

// returns '1.234.567.890.987.654.400'
let strEs = formatterEs.format(num);

Defaulting to the user’s default browser language

The locale parameter is required with the Intl.NumberFormat() constructor, but if you pass in undefined for its value (not null or false, it has to be undefined), it will use the default language specified by the user’s browser.

For example, this would use en-US for me, but might use something different for you depending on where in the world you are.

let formatter = Intl.NumberFormat(undefined);

Chaining and reusing the formatter

You don’t need to assign the Intl.NumberFormat() constructor to a variable before running the format() method. You can chain them if you want.

let str = Intl.NumberFormat(undefined).format(num);

If you’re only formatting one number, chaining is probably the cleanest way to write this.

However, if you’re going to format multiple numbers the same way, I would recommend creating a formatter object and running it multiple times.

For larger data sets this can be more performant, and also saves you from having to repeat yourself.

let numbers = [

let formatter = Intl.NumberFormat(undefined);

let formattedNumbers = (num) {
	return formatter.format(num);

Here’s another demo.

Formatting strings in different ways

The Intl.NumberFormat() constructor accepts a second argument, an object of options that you can use to format strings in different ways.

Tomorrow, we’ll take a look at how that works.