The fact that when the base is io the mantissa of the logarithm is independent of the position of the decimal point in the number affords the chief reason for the choice of io as base.

In tables of logarithms of numbers to base io the mantissa only is in general tabulated, as the characteristic of the logarithm of a number can always be written down at sight, the rule being that, if the number is greater than unity, the characteristic is less by unity than the number of digits in the integral portion of it, and that if the number is less than unity the characteristic is negative, and is greater by unity than the number of ciphers between the decimal point and the first significant figure.

The explanation of this property of the base io is evident, for a change in the position of the decimal points amounts to multiplication or division by some power of 10, and this corresponds to the addition or subtraction of some integer in the case of the logarithm, the mantissa therefore remaining intact.