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just avoid the scale.
printf "%.3f" will be sufficient
Avoiding scale defaults to scale=0, so that won't work.
then whats the use of setting precision in printf
As @bewuethr mentions avoiding scale won't work, but if you used bc -l it would as this defaults to scale of 20.
printf "%.3f\n" exp | bc -l)
There is a $ before the parenthesis that is being interpreted in the comment
printf "%.3f" $(echo $exp | bc -l)
Why do you need the "$" before the echo part?
above command not able to write in STDOUT