If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website.

If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *.kastatic.org and *.kasandbox.org are unblocked.

Main content

Multiply decimals: FAQ

Frequently asked questions about multiplying decimals.

Why is it important to know how to estimate when multiplying decimals?

Estimating can be helpful for a few reasons. First, it can give us a rough idea of what the product should be, which can help catch mistakes. For example, if we estimate that 2×4.8 should be around 10, but we end up with a product of 100, we'll know that something went wrong. Additionally, sometimes we might not need an exact answer, just a ballpark figure. In those cases, estimating might be all we need to do.
Try it yourself with these exercises:

How do I use a grid or area model to multiply decimals?

First, divide the grid into sections based on the numbers you're multiplying. Then, label the sections with the correct decimal values. Finally, find the area of each section and add them together to get the product.
Try it yourself with these exercises:

Why is it helpful to understand how to multiply whole numbers by 0.1 and 0.01?

Multiplying by 0.1 and 0.01 are relatively simple cases of decimal multiplication, so they can help build confidence and understanding before moving on to more complicated examples.
They provide a clear illustration of how the place value of the digits in a number changes when you multiply by a decimal. For example, when you multiply a whole number by 0.1, all the digits shift one place to the right (e.g. 5 becomes 0.5, 12 becomes 1.2, etc.).
Multiplying by 0.1 and 0.01 are both common calculations in various contexts (e.g. finding 10% or 1% of a number), so it can be useful to know how to do them quickly and accurately.
Try it yourself with this exercise:

How do we multiply decimals by decimals?

When we multiply decimals by decimals, we multiply the two numbers as if they were whole numbers. We then count the total number of digits after the decimal point in both numbers, and place the decimal point in the product so that there are the same number of digits after the decimal point.
Try it yourself with these exercises:

Why do I need to understand the different ways to multiply decimals?

Different methods work better for different people. By understanding different ways to multiply decimals, you can choose the one that makes the most sense to you.

Want to join the conversation?