# What is the preferred way of writing small numbers in academic writing?

I need to represent small numbers in multiple tables. I am wondering which is the preferred way: 1.235e-3, or 1.235x10^-3?

The issue is that the latter requires more width than the former. Hence, most of the tables may extend the page width.

• All the examples I see are 1.235x10-3 and including the common measures, so if something is usually reported in microliters, they don't give the values in milliliters, so it's important to know what the standard is for the given thing they are reporting on. Of course, I mostly see medical, but when I worked in academia (20 years ago) they did the same. I don't know if this is true in the field you are working in, so I'm just giving it as a comment. May 31 at 2:38
• @DWKraus: Thanks :)
– TRK
May 31 at 2:44
• First, use SI units only. Don't change to other units. Also, in tables, the column heading can give the key to understanding the numbers in the table. If every number in a column is a thousandth (x10^-3), then there's no reason to put that in every cell. A table column heading can say "Population in millions" and the table cells have simple numbers like "1.3" -- for a population of 1,300,000. Jun 7 at 14:08