How to Divide a Number by a Decimal

By Erica Green

When dividing by a decimal number, the math problem isn’t ready for the individual to start working immediately. Dividing with a decimal number takes regular division one step further and requires a little more brain power. However, a few simple rules make division by a decimal number as easy as regular division.

Understand the terms. The dividend is the number that is divided or the number under the division box. The divisor is the number that does the dividing.

Multiply the divisor by a power of 10. Determine what power of 10 is needed for the divisor to reach a whole number. For example, if the divisor is 0.12 multiply by 100 to reach 12 as a whole number.

Multiply the dividend by the same power of 10 as the divisor. This will move the decimal place in the dividend the same amount of places. For example, if the original problem was 0.144/0.12 it should now be 14.4/12.

Work as a regular division problem. Remember, when there is a decimal in the dividend it must be moved directly above the division sign so the decimal point will appear in the answer.

Check you answer. Multiply the divisor by the answer or the quotient and add any remainders. Your answer should equal the dividend.

About the Author

Erica Green has been a freelance journalist since 2008. She has contributed to the Atlantic Publishing Company, Texas Sports, Confessions of a Homeowner and more. Green is currently pursuing a degree in Spanish, and she tutors English Language Learner students. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Texas and is a certified middle school teacher.