How to read Roman Numerals with InfoFind

Opening the Roman Numerals Form

You can access the Roman Numerals Form from the menu [Information]->[Roman Numerals].

Roman Numerals

This form also allows you to convert modern numbers (Arabic numerals) to Roman numbers. Roman numerals are often used in ceremony such as weddings or sports, historical events such as World War II, they are commonly used in names such as names of Monarchs and Popes, and they are usually used in book and movie copyrights. When you open this form you will see a list of all Roman numeral conversions for numbers 1 to 100 and another list for the most recent 25 year period. In addition at the bottom of the form you can enter a number to convert to a Roman numeral or you can enter a Roman numeral to convert to a number.

InfoFind Roman Numeral Calculator

How to read Roman Numerals without InfoFind

There are a few basic rules for reading Roman numerals. Once you remember the rules then it’s not that difficult to read Roman numerals when you come across them. Each letter represents a number. The table below shows each letter and what it represents.
Roman NumeralModern Number
I1
V5
X10
L50
C100
D500
M1000

Each letter in the Roman number is added together to create the number, however if a smaller letter is listed before a larger letter then it is subtracted instead. Roman numerals should be written so that the numbers go from largest to smallest (with exception of subtraction numbers). Below are a few examples.
ExampleFormulaUsed in Sentance
Louis XVI10 + 5 + 1 = 16
X + V + I = XVI
Louis XVI was the King of France from 1774 to 1792; he and his queen (Marie Antoinette) were guillotined and succeeded by Napoleon Bonaparte who became Emperor.
Olympics XXIX10 + 10 + 10 - 1 = 29
X + X + X - I = XXIX
Games of the XXIX Olympiad in Beijing in 2008 (29th Olympic Summer Games).
Pope Gregory XIII10 + 1 + 1 + 1 = 13
X + I + I + I = XIII
The Gregorian calendar was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582 to replace the Julian calendar; and the Gregorian calendar is the calendar now used as the civil calendar in most countries.
Super Bowl XLIV50 – 10 + 5 – 1 = 44
L - X + V - I = XLIV
Super Bowl XLIV will be the 44th annual edition of the American Football Championship Game planned for the year 2010.
Year MDCCLXXVI(1000 + 500 + 100 + 100 + 50 + 10 + 10 + 5 + 1) = 1776The Number MDCCLXXVI listed on US $1 Bill represents the year 1776; this is the year that the Declaration of independence was signed.

Additional Rules

The rules listed above are the most basic rules. About 2000 Years ago during Roman times the subtraction rule was not used so the numbers were much longer then they are today (example 9 = VIIII vs. IX). Some additional rules that are commonly used today are listed in the below.
  • Limit the number of consecutive letters to 3 so write IV for 4 rather than IIII.
  • Only powers of 10 (I, X, or C) can be subtracted.
  • Don't subtract a letter from one that is 10 times greater than it.
    (example: subtracting I from V or X is valid but subtracting I from C or M is not valid)
  • Sometimes (but not commonly) a lower case j used as the last letter rather then and uppercase I.
However the rules are not always followed for example watches and time clocks often display the number 4 as IIII rather than IV for aesthetic reasons; the number that is directly across from 4 on a clock is the number 8 (VIII) and VIII matches up better to IIII then IV for the size of the letters.