How do I escape / display percent sign in printf statement?

You have a problem displaying the % sign when you want to print a number in percentage format using the printf() method. Because the % sign is use as a prefix of format specifiers, you need to escape it if you want to display the % sign as part of the output string.

To escape the percent sign (%) you need to write it twice, like %%. It will print out a single % sign as part of your printf() method output. Let see an example in the code snippet below:

package org.kodejava.example.lang;

public class EscapePercentSignExample {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        String format = "The current bank interest rate is %6.2f%%.%n";
        System.out.printf(format, 10f);

In the code snippet above we use the following format %6.2f%%.%n which can be explained as:

  • %6.2f format the number (10f) as six characters in width, right justified, with two places after decimal point. The f is a conversion character for a float value.
  • %% will escape the % sign and print it as part of the output.
  • %n will print out a new line character.

When you execute the code, it will print:

The current bank interest rate is  10.00%.

How do I display negative number in parentheses?

The code snippet below show us how to display or format negative number in parentheses. We start by defining the number format, the pattern has two parts separated by a semicolon. In the snippet we use the #,##0.00;(#,##0.00) pattern. The pattern after the semicolon will be use to format negative number.

Next we create an instance of DecimalFormat by calling getInstance() method. We apply the the format pattern for the formatter object by calling the applyPattern() method of the DecimalFormat instance. To format the number we simply call the format() method and pass the number we are going to format for display or print out.

package org.kodejava.example.text;

import java.text.DecimalFormat;

public class NegativeNumberFormat {
    // Pattern for formatting negative number.
    public static final String PATTERN1 = "#,##0.00;(#,##0.00)";
    public static final String PATTERN2 = "$#,##0.00;-$#,##0.00";

    public static void main(String[] args) {
        DecimalFormat df = (DecimalFormat) DecimalFormat.getInstance();

        // Format using parentheses
        System.out.println("Positive: " + df.format(125));
        System.out.println("Negative: " + df.format(-125));

        // Format using currency symbol and minus sign
        System.out.println("Positive: " + df.format(1000));
        System.out.println("Negative: " + df.format(-1000));

The result of the code snippet above is:

Positive: 125.00
Negative: (125.00)
Positive: $1,000.00
Negative: -$1,000.00

If you need to parse negative numbers in parentheses to produce the represented number you can see the following example How do I parse negative number in parentheses?.