Using format flags to format negative number in parentheses

In this example we are going to learn to use a java.util.Formatter to format negative number in parentheses. The Formatter can use a format flags to format a value. To display a negative number in parentheses we can user the ( flag. This flag display negative number inside parentheses instead of using the - symbol.

The following code snippet below will show you how to do it. We start the example by using the Formatter object and simplified using the format() method of the String class.

package org.kodejava.example.util;

import java.util.Formatter;
import java.util.Locale;

public class FormatNegativeNumber {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        // Creates an instance of Formatter, format the number using the
        // format and print out the result.
        Formatter formatter = new Formatter();
        formatter.format("%(,.2f", -199.99f);
        System.out.println("number1 = " + formatter);

        // Use String.format() method instead of creating an instance of
        // Formatter. Format a negative number using Germany locale.
        String number2 = String.format(Locale.GERMANY, "%(,8.2f", -49.99);
        System.out.println("number2 = " + number2);

        // Format number using Indonesian locale. The thousand separator is "."
        // in Indonesian number.
        String number3 = String.format(new Locale("id", "ID"), "%(,d", -10000);
        System.out.println("number3 = " + number3);

The result of this code snippet:

number1 = (199.99)
number2 =  (49,99)
number3 = (10.000)

How do I create a custom logger Formatter?

To create a custom Formatter we need to extends the java.util.logging.Formatter abstract class and implements the format(LogRecord) method. In the method then we can format the log message stored in the LogRecord to match our need.

The java.util.logging.Formatter class also have the getHead(Handler) and getTail(Handler) which can be overridden to add a head and a tail to our log message.

package org.kodejava.example.util.logging;

import java.text.DateFormat;
import java.text.SimpleDateFormat;
import java.util.Date;
import java.util.logging.*;

public class LogCustomFormatter {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        Logger logger = Logger.getLogger(LogCustomFormatter.class.getName());

        MyFormatter formatter = new MyFormatter();
        ConsoleHandler handler = new ConsoleHandler();

        logger.addHandler(handler);"Example of creating custom formatter.");
        logger.warning("A warning message.");
        logger.severe("A severe message.");

class MyFormatter extends Formatter {
    // Create a DateFormat to format the logger timestamp.
    private static final DateFormat df = new SimpleDateFormat("dd/MM/yyyy hh:mm:ss.SSS");

    public String format(LogRecord record) {
        StringBuilder builder = new StringBuilder(1000);
        builder.append(df.format(new Date(record.getMillis()))).append(" - ");
        builder.append(record.getSourceMethodName()).append("] - ");
        builder.append("[").append(record.getLevel()).append("] - ");
        return builder.toString();

    public String getHead(Handler h) {
        return super.getHead(h);

    public String getTail(Handler h) {
        return super.getTail(h);

Below is an output produced by the custom formatter above.

01/05/2009 06:22:09.372 - [org.kodejava.example.util.logging.LogCustomFormatter.main] - [INFO] - Example of creating custom formatter.
01/05/2009 06:22:09.374 - [org.kodejava.example.util.logging.LogCustomFormatter.main] - [WARNING] - A warning message.
01/05/2009 06:22:09.374 - [org.kodejava.example.util.logging.LogCustomFormatter.main] - [SEVERE] - A severe message.