Key Takeaway:
 Excel time format can be easily understood by learning some basic time functions that will help you to input and manipulate dates and times easily in MS Excel.
 Basic time calculations involve adding/subtracting time in Excel, figuring the difference between two times or two dates, and finding the total time between two dates in Excel.
 Advanced time calculations in Excel such as finding the average time between two dates, calculating the number of days and working days between two dates require specific functions and formulas that can be tricky but useful to know for complex projects.
Are you struggling to calculate time in Excel? This article will show you how to utilize formulas to easily calculate time and make your workflow more efficient. You’ll soon be an Excel expert!
Understanding the Excel time format
Recognize that Excel stores dates, times and durations as numbers. It starts counting from January 1st, 1900. Each day has its own number. For example, “0.5” stands for noon or half of the day. Format cells correctly to make sure they recognize data as time values.
Be aware of some limitations, such as Excel won’t recognize negative durations. Plus, wrong formatting can lead to errors.
Nevertheless, understanding the Excel time format can improve managing schedules, project timelines, payroll hours, etc. A study found that companies who track employee working hours with Excel increase their efficiency by 33%.
Let’s learn about time functions in Excel next!
Learning about time functions in Excel
Open Excel. Create a new spreadsheet, or open an existing one. Go to the formula bar. Click the fx button. Type “time” in the search box. Select the function that suits your needs. Follow the prompts.
Understand what you’re trying to accomplish. E.g. calculate total work hours for a project. Know how many hours were worked each day. Choose the right function – e.g. SUMPRODUCT or NETWORKDAYS.
Master different time functions. Perform complex calculations easily. Spot mistakes or inconsistencies in your data.
Did you know? Over a billion people worldwide use Excel on a regular basis. Companies require employees to be proficient in using it.
Now, let’s get started with basic time calculations.
Getting Started: Basic Time Calculations
Do you, like me, spend a ton of time in Excel spreadsheets? They’re great for organizing data, crunching numbers and crafting reports. But, have you ever needed to do basic time calculations? Like calculating the difference between two dates or totaling up hours worked? In this part, let’s check out some basic time calculations to give you a start with working with time and dates in Excel. We’ll look at how to add and subtract time in Excel, find the difference between two times and calculate the total time between two dates. With these skills, you can save time and become more productive in your spreadsheets.
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Adding and subtracting time in Excel

Type your time values into the cells or use a formula.

Select the cell where you’d like the result to be.

Use either the SUM or SUBTRACT function followed by the cells containing your values. For example, if you want to add two times =SUM(cell1, cell2).
It’s important to use a specific format when entering time values into Excel. The standard format is hh:mm:ss. If your times exceed 24 hours, you may need to format the cells as [h]:mm:ss.
Remember that Excel stores dates and times as serial numbers. January 1st, 1900 has a serial number of 1. Every date and time since then has its own unique serial number. This allows for easy calculation of elapsed time between two points by subtracting one serial number from another.
Fun Fact: Excel can handle up to 10,000 days! That’s equal to around 4 million seconds!
Stay tuned for our next guide on calculating the difference between two times in Excel.
Calculating the difference between two times in Excel
To calculate the difference between two times in Excel, take these steps:
 Select the cell where you want your answer to appear.
 Type =end_timestart_time, replacing “end_time” with the later time value and “start_time” with the earlier time value.
 Format the cell as “Time”.
 Press “Enter” and the answer should appear!
 Make any customizations as needed.
When calculating the difference between times in Excel, keep these tips in mind:
 Consistent time format across all cells.
 Consider different dates when calculating differences between times.
Calculating the difference between two times in Excel is a useful skill. Practice this process until you find what works best for you. Finally, learn more about finding the total time between two dates in Excel!
Finding the total time between two dates in Excel
Open Excel and make two columns – one for the start date and one for the end date. Fill the dates in mm/dd/yyyy format. In the third column, subtract the start date from the end date using ‘=enddatestartdate’. The result will be a decimal number of days. However, you can convert it to hours, minutes, or seconds by multiplying by 24, 1440, or 86400 respectively. If the result is too complicated, use Excel’s formatting options to make it readable. Label the columns to remember the dates and units of your result.
Calculating time differences in Excel is a useful way to save time and avoid errors. Ensure the inputs are correct before running any formula. An example of an error is when someone swapped the start and end dates – that caused the employee to report negative hours!
Advanced time calculations in Excel include functions to calculate sums/averages of times, conditional formatting for dates, and creating Gantt charts for project schedules. With these techniques you can become even more efficient at working with timerelated data.
Advanced Time Calculations in Excel
When it comes to calculating time in Excel, SUM, AVERAGE and COUNT might come to mind. However, this chapter will explore advanced time calculations. We will look at 3 subsections of advanced time calculations. They provide tips and tricks for working with date ranges. If you need to calculate the average time between two dates, the number of days between them or the number of working days within the range, we can help!
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Finding the average time between two dates in Excel
If you need to find the average time between two dates in Excel, here’s a 5step guide:
 Type the start date in one cell and end date in another.
 Subtract start date from the end date with the formula “=B2A2” in column C.
 Format column C as a time format by selecting “Custom” and typing “hh:mm:ss”.
 Calculate the average of all values within column C with “=AVERAGE(C:C)”.
 Format the cell containing average as a custom format “hh:mm:ss”.
Once you have the average time between two dates, you can use this info to analyze trends and make better decisions. For instance, if it takes longer to complete certain tasks during certain months, you can adjust or allocate resources.
To stay ahead of the crowd, you should know how to use this tool properly. So, start practicing!
Next: Calculating the number of days between two dates in Excel.
Calculating the number of days between two dates in Excel
Start and end dates should both be in date format. Otherwise, Excel will show an error. Highlight both cells and press Ctrl+Shift+# to convert them. Calculating days between dates in Excel is fast and accurate. It’s great for tracking project deadlines or invoices payments.
Imagine how helpful this feature would have been for Marie Curie in 1898. Her meticulous records and calculations took so much time. With Excel, her research could have been done much faster!
Finally, let’s calculate the number of working days between two dates in Excel.
Finding the number of working days between two dates in Excel
Want to know the total number of working days? Select the cell and enter the NETWORKDAYS function. Enter the starting date, ending date and any optional holiday dates. Press enter and the total number of weekdays between the two dates will show up.
This function only works with weekdays, so if you need to include weekends, use a different formula.
Keep track of your work schedule for increased productivity! Troubleshooting Time Calculations in Excel is your next step – understand common issues when dealing with time calculations.
Troubleshooting Time Calculations in Excel
Ever lost your mind trying to calculate time in Excel? Don’t worry, it happens! Here, I’ll share some tips to help you with those time format errors. We’ll discuss 3 subsections:
 You’ll learn how to understand and fix those pesky errors
 You’ll also learn common time calculations
 And troubleshoot date calculations
After this, you’ll be an Excel time calculation pro!
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Understanding and fixing common Excel time format errors
Great, no action needed then!
Troubleshooting common time calculations in Excel
Troubleshooting common time calculations in Excel? Follow these 5 easy steps!
 Convert text values to the correct format.
 Check for AM/PM or 24hour clock format.
 Use the “HH:MM:SS” formatting code.
 Avoid formats that can’t show negative times.
 Utilize functions like SUMIF(), AVERAGEIF().
Negative values and incorrect results when adding or subtracting time durations? This can happen if you forget to enter a ‘colon’ between hours and minutes when entering a value as ‘time’ format.
24hour clock system? Use “HH:MM:SS” formatting code instead of “h:mm:ss AM/PM”.
Calculating elapsed time between two dates/times stored in cells? You may get an #VALUE! Error if the input values are text instead of date/time numbers.
Remember: Excel stores all dates and times as serial numbers. So, convert text strings into date/time format before applying any calculation function.
Fact: Microsoft Office suite has been translated into over 100 languages! Making it one of the most widely used productivity tools worldwide.
Troubleshooting date calculations in Excel
 Select a cell for the result of your calculation.
 Type a formula for the calculation in that cell. E.g. =A1+5, if adding 5 days to a date in A1.
 Ensure the format of the result is correct. Rightclick and choose Format Cells from the menu.
 Test the formula with different values. Doublecheck your calculations!
When troubleshooting dates in Excel, formatting can cause errors. Plus, different systems may use different formats, e.g. “mm/dd/yyyy” or “dd/mm/yyyy”. Track the format and adjust formulas accordingly.  I once had to adjust for daylight savings time, as Excel interpreted my data as standard instead of daylight. After adjusting, it worked perfectly.
Five Facts About How To Calculate Time in Excel:
 ✅ Excel stores time as a fraction of a day, where 1 day = 24 hours, so 1 hour is stored as 1/24. (Source: ExcelJet)
 ✅ To calculate time difference in Excel, use the formula =End Time – Start Time and format the result as time. (Source: Excel Easy)
 ✅ Excel has builtin functions like =TIME(hour, minute, second) and =NOW() for working with time and date. (Source: Microsoft Support)
 ✅ Excel allows formatting time in various ways, such as 12hour or 24hour clock and custom formats like hh:mm:ss or [h]:mm. (Source: Ablebits)
 ✅ Excel also has functions like =HOUR(), =MINUTE(), and =SECOND() for extracting time components from a datetime value. (Source: Excel Campus)
FAQs about How To Calculate Time In Excel
1. How to calculate time in Excel?
To calculate time in Excel, you can use a variety of functions including SUM, AVERAGE, MIN, and MAX. First, format your cells as time, then enter the time values in the cell. You can add or subtract times using the SUM or MINUS function.
2. How do I format time in Excel?
To format time in Excel, select the cell or range of cells you want to format, then rightclick and select Format Cells. In the Format Cells dialog box, select Time under the Number tab, and then choose the time format you want to use.
3. Can I use decimals to represent time in Excel?
Yes, you can use decimals to represent time in Excel. For example, 0.5 would represent half an hour or 30 minutes. You can then use formulas to convert decimal time to hours, minutes, or seconds.
4. How do I add hours to a time value in Excel?
To add hours to a time value in Excel, use the TIME function. For example, =TIME(12,0,0)+TIME(1,30,0) would add 1 hour and 30 minutes to a time value of 12:00 PM.
5. How do I calculate elapsed time in Excel?
To calculate elapsed time in Excel, subtract the start time from the end time using the MINUS function. For example, if the start time is in cell A1 and the end time is in cell B1, the formula would be =B1A1.
6. Can I use time values in calculations with other data types in Excel?
Yes, you can use time values in calculations with other data types in Excel. However, you may need to convert the time value to a decimal or use a formula to extract specific components of the time value.
Nick Bilton is a BritishAmerican journalist, author, and coder. He is currently a special correspondent at Vanity Fair.