I am giving a value $\alpha$ and its confidence interval in a table. All numbers are very large so I ought to use scientific notation. But what is the best and neatest way to present this? Some options:

  1. $5\times10^6 (9\times10^5,9\times10^6)$ - but does not conserve space
  2. $5\times10^6 (0.9,9)\times10^6$
  3. $5 (0.9,9) \times10^6$ - unclear that 10^6 applies to both items?
  4. Use $\alpha\times10^-6$ as column title, and $5 (0.9,9)$ - but is minus sign confusing the fact that alpha is very big?
  5. Use $\alpha (10^6)$ as column title, and $5 (0.9,9)$ - is this clear?
  • $\begingroup$ I might write $(0.9;5;9)\times10^6$. Sometimes, tolerances are written $5^{+4}_{-4.1}$, which you can follow with $\times10^6$. $(\times10^6)$ in the column header will be understood as a factor to apply to the numerical values (and not to $\alpha$.) $\endgroup$
    – user65203
    Feb 4, 2019 at 12:48

1 Answer 1


In my oppinion option 1. is the only one that is clear on first glance. Even though other options might be more space conserving I would stick to that one. If it is feasible I would separate the estimated values and the corresponding confidence intervals by using different columns. If you really insist on having both in the same entry of your table another option which I think I have seen in a few papers is to put the confidence intervals above with a smaller font.


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