Per the docs

format(String, List<String>)

Treat the current string as a pattern that should be used for substitution in the same manner as apex:outputText.

Which would lead me to think this would be a great function

public static String toCurrencyString(Decimal input) {
    return String.format('{0,number,currency}', new String[] { input.format());

But that just throws a System.StringException: Cannot format given Object as a Number

Is there anyway to use this function for more than just basic string substitution? Or should I just consider this apparent platform bug one of those special Salesforce "features" that will never get fixed.

  • 2
    I think String.format accepts only strings... Check tgerm.com/2011/01/message-format-string-format-apex.html ?
    – eyescream
    Jun 4, 2014 at 8:09
  • Sigh I was afraid of that. Blerg, I hate these holes. Probably expecting too much in hoping they could fix the docs, so at least they don't imply functionality they don't actually have. Jun 4, 2014 at 8:18
  • If you wanted to post an answer of "No" and add a link to the idea to vote for the feature, I'd accept it. Stuck waiting for the wait period to answer my own question to expire. Jun 4, 2014 at 8:19
  • I was disappointed to find this out myself. I would have thought they'd accept an array of objects.
    – sfdcfox
    Jun 4, 2014 at 15:07

1 Answer 1


String.format() seems to accept only Strings as arguments, it's less powerful than apex:outputText.

Check the @Abhinav's blog post at http://www.tgerm.com/2011/01/message-format-string-format-apex.html, vote for his idea...

I think for now your best choice is this:

Decimal x = 123456789.01;

It outputs 123,456,789.01 in my current en_GB locale. Different locales (like de) can have dots and commas swapped around.

  • [Decimal].format() formats the Decimal value into the locale of the current user. Is there a way of formatting a Decimal to an arbitrary locale (or format) in Apex? e.g. Decimal decimalValue = 10000.00; String stringValue = decimalValue.format('###,###,##0.00');
    – cyorkston
    Apr 6, 2016 at 16:03
  • @cyorkston not that I'm aware of. You'll have to roll out your own formatter, for example round down the number to cut into main & fractional part, then merge back with separators you need. Some dividing by 1000 until & adding comma till there's nothing to divide? Maybe you'll find some formatting functions or ideas at code.google.com/archive/p/apex-lang although the project is abandoned since 2012 and many functions it "patches" are now in core String library.
    – eyescream
    Apr 8, 2016 at 10:15

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