What Does Truncate Mean?

Truncation in IT refers to “cutting” something, or removing parts of it to make it shorter. In general, truncation takes a certain object such as a number or text string and reduces it in some way, which makes it less resources to store.


Techopedia Explains Truncate

Some examples of truncation in IT include the truncation of floating point numbers. A truncation operation in code may take a number with several digits to the left of the decimal point, and truncate that number into an integer. This is similar to the mathematical process of “rounding off,” except that in some forms of truncation, the number may be automatically rounded down by cutting off the extra decimal digits, even if that floating point number was closer to a higher integer.

Truncation can also be done with text strings or any kind of complex variable. In addition, truncation is done in some other types of user technologies – for instance, in email platforms, where a user might see the message that a certain email has been “truncated.” Again, this truncation process is often done for the purposes of using less memory in a system, or, in some display cases, uncluttering a visual interface.


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Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…