Calculating time in Google Sheets: subtract, sum and extract date and time units

Now, that we've learnt how to enter dates and time to your spreadsheet, it's time to talk about the ways of calculating time in Google Sheets. We'll discuss the ways of finding time difference in detail, see how to sum dates and time together, and learn to display only date or time units and set them apart completely.

How to calculate time difference in Google Sheets

When you're working on some projects, it is usually important to control how much time you spend. This is called elapsed time. Google Sheets can help you calculate the time difference in a lot of various ways.

Example 1. Subtract time to get the time duration in Google Sheets

If you have your start time and end time, it's not a problem to find out the time spent:

= End time - Start time

Let's assume the start time is in column A and the end time is in column B. With a simple subtraction formula in C2, you will find how much time this or that task took:


Time duration in hours and minutes in Google Sheets.

The time is formatted as "hh:mm" by default.

To get the results as hours only or as hours, minutes, and seconds, you need to apply a custom format with the corresponding time codes: h and hh:mm:ss. Google even offers a special number format for cases like this - Duration:

Elapsed time in Google Sheets.

Tip. To apply the custom time format, go to Format > Number > More Formats > Custom number format in your spreadsheet menu.

Example 2. Calculate time duration in Google Sheets using the TEXT function

Another trick to calculate the time duration in Google Sheets involves the TEXT function:

=TEXT(B2-A2,"h") - for hours
=TEXT(B2-A2,"h:mm") - for hours and minutes
=TEXT(B2-A2,"h:mm:ss") - for hours, minutes, and seconds

Textual time difference.

Note. See how the records are aligned to the left? Because the TEXT function always returns the results formatted as a text. This means these values cannot be used for further calculations.

Example 3. Time difference in hours, minutes, and seconds

You can track the time spent and get the result in one time unit disregarding other units. For example, count the number of only hours, only minutes, or only seconds.

Note. To ensure correct results, your cells should be formatted either as numbers or automatically: Format > Number > Number or Format > Number > Automatic.
  • To get the number of hours spent, subtract your start time from the end time and multiply the result by 24 (since there are 24 hours in one day):

    =(End time - Start time) * 24

    You will get a time difference as a decimal:

    See the time spent in hours.

    If the start time is greater than the end time, the formula will return a negative number, like in C5 in my example.

    Tip. The INT function will let you see the number of complete hours spent since it rounds numbers down to the nearest integer:

    Count complete hours between two dates.

  • To count minutes, substitute the start time from the end time and multiply whatever you get by 1,440 (since there are 1,440 minutes in one day):

    =(End time - Start time) * 1440

    Calculate the number of minutes between dates.

  • To find out how many seconds passed between two times, the drill is the same: substitute the start time from the end time and multiply the result by 86,400 (the number of seconds in a day):

    =(End time - Start time) * 86400

    Get the time difference in seconds.

Tip. You can avoid multiplying in all these cases. Just subtract times first, and then apply elapsed time format from Format > Number > More Formats > More date and time formats. If you click the down arrow to the right of the text field, you'll be able to choose between additional date and time units:

Duration formats in Google Sheets - elapsed time units.

Example 4. Functions to get the time difference in a Google spreadsheet

As always, Google Sheets equips you with three particularly useful functions for this purpose.

Note. These functions work only within 24 hours and 60 minutes and seconds. If the time difference exceeds these limits, the formulas will return errors.
  • =HOUR(B2-A2) - to return hours only (without minutes and seconds)
  • =MINUTE(B2-A2) - to return minutes only (without hours and seconds)
  • =SECOND(B2-A2) - to return seconds only (without hours and minutes)

Special functions to calculate hours, minutes, or seconds only.

How to add and subtract time in Google Sheets: hours, minutes, or seconds

These operations can also be achieved with two techniques: one involves basic math calculations, another - functions. While the first way always works, the second one with functions works only when you add or subtract units less than 24 hours, or 60 minutes, or 60 seconds.

Add or subtract hours in Google Sheets

  • Add less than 24 hours:

    =Start time + TIME(N hours, 0, 0)

    Here's how the formula looks on real data:


    Add 3 hours using the TIME function.

  • Add more than 24 hours:

    =Start time + (N hours / 24)

    To add 27 hours to the time in A2, I use this formula:


    Add 27 hours with an arithmetic formula.

  • To subtract 24 and more hours, use the formulas above as a basis but change the plus sign (+) to the minus sign (-). Here's what I've got:

    =A2-TIME(3,0,0) - to subtract 3 hours
    =A2-(27/24) - to subtract 27 hours

Add or subtract minutes in Google Sheets

The principle of manipulating minutes is the same as with the hours.

  • There's the TIME function that adds and subtracts up to 60 minutes:

    =Start time + TIME(0, N minutes, 0)

    If you are to add 40 minutes, you can do it like this:


    If you are to subtract 20 minutes, here's the formula to use:


    Add and subtract 40 minutes with the TIME function.

  • And there's a formula based on simple arithmetic to add and subtract over 60 minutes:

    =Start time + (N minutes / 1440)

    Thus, here's how you add 120 minutes:


    Put the minus instead of plus to subtract 120 minutes:


    Arithmetic formula to add and subtract 120 minutes.

Add or subtract seconds in Google Sheets

Seconds in Google Sheets are calculated in the same manner as hours and minutes.

  • You can use the TIME function to add or subtract up to 60 seconds:

    =Start time + TIME(0, 0, N seconds)

    For example, add 30 seconds:


    Or substitute 30 seconds:


  • To calculate over 60 seconds, use simple maths:

    =Start time + (N seconds / 86400)

    Add 700 seconds:


    Or substitute 700 seconds:


How to sum time in Google Sheets

To find the total time in your table in Google Sheets, you can use the SUM function. The trick here is to choose the correct format to display the result.

By default, the result will be formatted as Duration - hh:mm:ss

Sum duration.

But most often the default time or duration format won't be enough, and you will need to come up with your own one.

Create a custom format for your total time in Google Sheets.

A7:A9 cells contain the same time value. They are just displayed differently. And you can actually perform calculations with them: subtract, sum, convert to decimal, etc.

Extract date and time from a full "date-time" record

Let's imagine that one cell in Google Sheets contains both, date and time. You want to set them apart: extract only the date to one cell and only time to another.

In order to display date or time in one cell on your screen or to print it, just select the original cell, go to Format > Number and choose Date or Time.

However, if you'd like to use these values for future calculations (subtract, sum, etc.), this won't be enough. If you don't see the time unit in a cell, it doesn't necessarily mean that it's absent, and vice versa.

So what do you do?

Google stores dates and time as numbers. For example, it sees the date 8/24/2017 11:40:03 as the number 42971,4861458. The integer part represents the date, the fractional - time. So, your task is down to separating integer from fractional.

  1. To extract date (integer part), use the ROUNDDOWN function in cell B2:

    ROUNDDOWN function to separate the units
    The formula rounds the value down and casts the fractional part away.

  2. To extract time, place the following subtraction formula into C2:


  3. Copy the results into the third row and apply Date format to B3 and Time format to C3:
    Date and time formatted as Date and Time.

These are the ways to not only display date or time, but to separate them to different cells. And you can perform various calculations with these records now.

I hope these examples will help you solve your tasks when working with dates and time in Google Sheets.

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Table of contents

127 responses to "Calculating time in Google Sheets: subtract, sum and extract date and time units"

  1. Rachael says:

    Thank you! This just saved me so much time!

  2. G says:

    HI, When the "duration, h" column is added to get a total hours the formula SUM(E3:E100) returns less than 24 hours. It restarts the summation each time it hits 24 hours. So if the total hours worked is 53 hours and 45 minutes, the return is 5:45 which is incorrect. How can I correct that?

  3. Ola says:


    Thanks for a super interesting topic. I'm trying to build a countdown displaying Days, Hours and Minutes and yours is the only subject I can find on the matter.

    Though I have some major problems getting it to work correctly and was wondering: Would you mind sharing your Sheet for us slow people to have a poke at?

    Thanks in advance and thanks for a super post!

  4. Dave Bacon says:

    Hi, I'm trying to sort out how to sum time for a time trial event on a racing game. There are several weeks being added together for a total combined time of all events. The issue I'm having is Sheets is rounding the time up. I need it to show exact times, so if a lap time is 1 minute 33 seconds and .742 so, 0:01:33.742, I need it to show that time in the cell, and to represent that time in the total time cell, which I've used the sum function for. Drivers' times are often too close for them to be rounded up.

    Any help appreciated! Thanks!

  5. Mike Wurlitzer says:

    Looking to set a series of times based upon a single "operator entered START time" and about 10 subsequent times where I know the number of minutes between each step.

    It would be quite possible these would go over midnight to the next day.

    Example: Start time = 11:00 AM
    Step 1 [15 min] = 11:15 AM
    Step 2 [20 min] = 11:35 AM
    Step 3 [4 hours] = 3:35 PM


    • Honey LaBronx says:

      I'm looking for the same!

      I'd like input the event start time and have it populate the cells with a list of times other coordinated events will be happening

  6. Peter says:

    Hi thank you for the above time calculation.

    There is one more help I need about the above formula. Is there a way to know the time spent on a particular task submitted per employee.

    Example : An employee used google form to submit a completed task. That showed 8/10/2018 6:30:00 timestamp, then claimed a new task which ended at 8/10/2018 7:15:00, then claimed another task which ended at 8/10/2018 7:35:00. Employees let’s say are required to complete 3 task per hour. In a situation where by one has more than hundreds of people using the form to submit their task completion per hour in one google tracker . What is the easiest way to calculate the hr spent by each employee and the completed task per hour. 2 is there a way to add a formula on a separate column that auto calculate hours spent by each employee when 3task is completed. ? The logic here is I would like to know the most product employee in an hour thanks.

  7. Ilham says:

    Halima’s slept at 2200h if she woke up at 0600h for how long had she slept.

  8. Lauren says:


    These are probably dumb questions but here goes....

    How would I calculate time elapsed by days on a project I'm tracking.

    Ex: Task 1 is supposed to start 1/23/18 but it did not start until 1/26/18

    I also am using conditional formatting in a status column.

    Is it possible to just have Task column, Start date column, Days Delayed column and Status column.

  9. Desire says:

    I'm trying to create a sheet for hours worked with start and stop times. They way we usually calculate it, we enter the hours worked first, and have to add in the start and stop times later. If the employees always start and take lunch at the same time, how could I make a formula that will auto-populate the start and stop times for the amount of hours worked for a given day?

    Ex: Start Stop Start Stop Hours
    7:30 AM 12:00 PM 12:30 PM 4:30 PM 8

    I would like to just be able to enter in "8" in the hours column, and have the start & stop times be calculated using a formula. Thank you!

  10. Robert Simmons says:

    I noticed that when changing Duration to hours, day, etc... the Hours are always one day off. I notice this on your and on mine as well. Example: above you had 81:01:40 and it displayed 2 days, 1 hour, 40 minutes. It should be 3 days, 1 hour, 40 minutes.

    Any idea why it automatically drops a day off?


  11. Patty says:

    Newbie here! This is the formula I am using in a Google sheet to determine the time elapsed between opening a job ticket and completion. How do I make it account for work days? It's currently adding 2 days for jobs started Friday but completed on Monday.

    =CONCATENATE(TEXT(FLOOR(L753-F753,1),"@")," Days",TEXT(L753-F753," h:mm"))

    • Hi Patty,

      We've added NETWORKDAYS to your formula - this function is used to count the number of working days between two dates. As a result, we've got this:

      =CONCATENATE(TEXT(NETWORKDAYS(F753,L753)-1,"@"),if((NETWORKDAYS(F753,L753)-1)=1," Day"," Days"),TEXT(L753-F753," h:mm"))

      • Lint says:

        Please help me with this formula so it doesn't include weekends.
        =ArrayFormula(IFERROR(if(Len(C2:C),(int(K2:K-C2:C)&"d "&text(K2:K-C2:C-int(K2:K-C2:C),"HH:MM:SS")),)))

        • Hello Lint,

          I'm sorry but we need to see your data to be able to help. Please consider sharing an editable copy of your spreadsheet along with the formula with us ( If you have confidential information there, you can replace it with some irrelevant data, just keep the format.

          Note. We keep that Google account for file sharing only, please do not email there. Once you share the file, just confirm by replying here.

          We'll look into it and try to help.

          In the meantime, you can use our Multiple VLOOKUP Matches add-on for Google Sheets to pull the necessary data without the weekends first and then process it the way you need.

  12. cedrik lapointe says:

    How to calculate time only between working hours
    Example employee started a task 2019-05-23 13:00 and finished 2019-05-28 10:00 it says 117hours but we are only open from 9 to 6 monday to friday is there way to only calculated hours between those time ?
    Thanks !

    • Cedrik,

      Let's assume your data looks the following way:

      Open | 9:00 AM
      Close | 6:00 PM

      Name | Start time | Closing time
      Name1 | 2019-06-10 10:00:00 | 2019-06-22 15:00:00

      Where the opening time is in B1, closing time - in B2, the start task time is in B5, end task time in C5.

      Here's the formula that should work:

  13. Katrina says:

    Is there a way to calculate the elapsed time for 2 different dates and times with a format of hours and minutes (hh:mm)?

  14. Peter Bain-Hogg says:

    I'm trying to find a formula that converts duration in hr:min:sec format (e.g. 00:04:15) to total seconds in number format (255).
    Any help greatly appreciated.

  15. Lauren says:

    Hi there!
    Thank you so much for this helpful information.
    Is it possible to calculate a sum of the total time formulas?
    e.g.: (=TEXT($F3-$E3,"hh:mm")) + (=TEXT($F4-$E4,"hh:mm")) = (=SUM(G3:G33))
    I have been trying the above to reach a sum but to no avail.
    Thank you!

    • Hi Lauren,

      If I got your formula right, the TEXT function returns records as text and they cannot be used for calculations as is. You could try using VALUE in order to turn Text cells back to Time like this:

      but VALUE doesn't take ranges, so you'd have to do that for each cell within your range - G3:G33 - in order to create a formula:

  16. Kurt says:

    I've built a Google Sheet to track service/repair work on construction equipment by our shop technicians.

    There are several steps in the operation process - 1) equipment arrives, 2) diagnostics, 3) labor quote by service dept., 4) parts quote by service, 5) full-quote sent to customer, 6) customer response, etc. We are date/time stamping each step of the process using this format (6/19/2019 0:00:00).

    I built a column to calculate the duration between each step to help identify the stages of the process where we have the biggest opportunity to gain efficiencies (time). A sample formula I used for the calculation is - =ArrayFormula(IFERROR(if(Len(F3:F),(int(H3:H-F3:F)&"d "&text(H3:H-F3:F-int(H3:H-F3:F),"HH:MM:SS")),)))

    While the duration formula above works great, I found that when I attempted to add an additional column of a target time frame (i.e. - 6 hours to complete for example); I could not use a comparative formula ( =if(I3>=J3,"X","√") ) because the duration calculation is in Text format.

    Any thoughts? I'm trying to highlight work orders (conditional formatting) that are outside of target deadlines, so that managers spend more time focusing on the "jobs" that are underperforming.


    • Hi Kurt,

      Since you use the TEXT function in your formula and such textual parts as &"d "&, the result will be turned into a text string. I'm afraid there's no way to make Google understand it as duration and compare with other time. I can only suggest you build a formula without using text parts in it.

  17. k says:

    Can I ask how can you convert 3 mins 51 secs to 00:03:51 format? Thanks.

  18. Mac says:

    I've been trying to SUMIF the duration but always ends up with 0. After playing around I've found that because the data (Name and duration only, no start or end time) was in XX:XX:XX:XX format it doesn't work. If i remove the first 2 leading zeros, that's the only time the SUMIF or even SUM function would work. Any idea how to make this work?

    • Mac,

      the duration format for Google Sheets is:
      elapsed hours : elapsed minutes : elapsed seconds
      What should another pair of numbers represent? Milliseconds?
      Please go to Format > Number > More Formats > More date and time formats, and make sure you've set the correct format for your durations.

  19. Mac says:

    Hey Natalia,

    Thanks for taking the time to respond. The first 2 zeros are always just 00 but I'm guessing they're days? it is suppose to be hh:mm:ss. The data itself is copied from another source and even if I tried all sorts of format, it stays the same.

    • Hey Mac,

      Thank you for the details.

      Unfortunately, Google Sheets doesn't recognize values formatted as XX:XX:XX:XX as any types of dates. It automatically aligns them to the left and treats as text strings.
      You need to remove those first zeros, and the records will then be automatically turned into Duration.
      Btw, we have a tool that can help you remove chars by position quickly. It is free for 30 days and you can use it on your data and remove the first 3 chars (00:).

  20. Katie says:

    I am having a problem adding and subtracting hour duration. Addition seems to be working correctly (6:30+2:00=8:30 8 hours 30 minutes). But I would like to subtract the total from 40 hours (40:00-8:30=31:30). Instead sheets is converting hours to days (when putting (40-31:30) in the cell it computes to 960:00-31:30=928:30). If I enter 40:00 - 31:30 I receive an error.

    • Hello Katie,

      When you enter 40-31:30, Google Sheets treats those as numbers and can't count.
      I'd advise you to put your durations in separate cells; then apply the duration format to them (Format > Number > Duration); and then use cell references to count =A2-B2. Everything will then work flawlessly.

  21. Michael Baun says:

    Hi there.
    I have used the formula for "Add or subtract minutes" in two different columns. One with
    "G3-time(0;Q2;0)" and one with B3+time(0;$P$2;0) It works great with a positive number in Q2 and P2.
    But it would like to have the possibility to and a negative number hence the range I need to enter goes from -60 - +60.
    I can figure that out?

  22. Fred Cane says:

    I am new to google spreadsheet, what is the formula for checkbox = show current time
    Ex: check checkbox on A2 then current time will appear on B2

    Thaks so much

  23. Madden says:

    Hi, I'm having a weird problem, and I can only find answers that is seems no one would ever want lol.
    I am using =SUM(E9-D9) to calculate elapsed time on an employee timesheet. The problem I have is I need the answer to be in a decimal format for payroll and I can't find a way of doing it without adding another cell with the conversion.
    9:30 - 1:45, with this formula I get the answer 4:15. I need the answer to say 4.25. Any ideas?

  24. Adam says:

    Hi Natalia,
    I'm building a spreadsheet to audit the release times of tour buses. I have a cell (A1) that lists the cost of a bus per hour. I have one cell (B1) for the time a driver records the bus released, and another cell (C1) for the time a tour guide records the bus released. Finally, I have a cell for the results (D1)

    First, I need to figure out the difference in reported times. If the difference is less than 15 minutes in either direction (negative or positive), I'd like D1 to return "$0.00." If the difference is more than 15 minutes, I'd like D1 to return the total difference in time multiplied by the cost of the bus (A1). In order to get these returns, I think the differences in time need to be represented as a decimals instead of time formats, but I'm not sure if that's right or how to do that. Any advice would help. Thank you so much!

  25. Donna says:

    I am just trying to create a staff rota. start time/finish time/total hours worked. For some reason some of the hours are adding correctly like 08.30 - 17:00 is 8.5 hours but 09:30 - 15:00 is coming up at 9 hours? Should my total column be in a different format? I also want to minus 30 minutes from the break, can I do this. Sorry for the really basic question

  26. Ivan says:

    Hi Natalia,

    Im struggling to correctly set up a sleep tracking spreadsheet. My end result is to compare weekly sleep durations but the issue comes with the following example
    Day 1: Time asleep 1AM -> Wake up 7AM => Duration 6h [easy]
    Day 2: Time asleep 11PM -> Wake up 7AM => Duration -+ 16h

    Obviously if I do manually reverse the subtraction I can get it but I'm trying to set it up automatically as I'm using this =ARRAYFORMULA(IF(C3:C370, AY3:AY37 - C3:C37, "")) which does get me the daily correct Duration but when doing the weekly average its incorrect as the numerical values of those dates that I fell asleep before 00:00 is wrong.
    Any ideas on how to go about this?

    • Hi Ivan,

      If you enter time without a date, Google Sheets treats these times as of belonging to one and the same day. You can check that by changing the format to Date time.
      So I'd advise you to enter both date and time to your cells (just set the format as Time to keep the date hidden) and you should get the correct results.

  27. Rachel says:

    Hi Natalia,
    Thanks for all the help you are giving! My question is, I am trying to average a group of numbers that are minutes and seconds, and I can't figure out the formula to use. as follows;
    Thank you!

  28. Michael Pyke says:

    Great thread so far, thanks. Is there a way to just use one cell to calculate duration? ie.
    05:00 - 15:00
    05:30 - 14:00
    =Total # of hours

  29. Jeff says:

    Hi Natilia,
    I've been beating my head against this one today. I have two columns that are recording dates with the calendar function in data validation, how can I calculate how many days have elapsed between the two columns.
    Column A records the first date, and column J records teh second date, and I want to be able to calculate teh total amount of days.

    Thank you

  30. Thaylin says:

    What is the formula if I need to display the duration in Hours/Min/sec when all I have is the seconds?

    Thank you

  31. rose says:

    =IF(B5=0,"",IF(B5>0,(B8-B5)+(B12-B9),"OUT")) This is the formula I am using to calculate my hours however the sum total shows up with am or pm how can I remove this please?
    thank you,
    IN WORK 9:00 AM 9:00 AM 9:00 AM
    LUNCH IN 2:00 AM 2:00 PM
    LUNCH OUT 2:30 PM 2:30 PM
    OUT WORK 5:30 PM 5:30 PM 1:00 PM
    TIME WORKED 8:00 PM 8:00 AM 4:00 AM 8:00 AM

  32. Carly says:

    Hello Natalia!
    I am kind of going off a couple of these commments.
    First, I am trying to formulate so I can calculate regular hours worked.
    So when I have
    Time In 8:00 AM
    Lunch Out 1:00 PM
    Lunch In 2:00 PM
    Time Out 4:00 PM
    I am getting the right calculation by using =HOUR(SUM(B14-B11))+(MINUTE(SUM(B14-B11))/60) because we get paid for an hour lunch, so Im not worried about the lunch in this case. However, if I take a half hour lunch, and still get paid for the full hour, how do I add a half hour to this time without having to do it manually
    Time In 8:00 AM
    Lunch Out 1:00 PM
    Lunch In 1:30 PM
    Time Out 4:00 PM
    This should calculate out to 8.5 hours.
    Thank you so much!

  33. Ray says:

    Natalia, this is a jewel of an article with enviable commentary and an exemplary response log. By any measure, your piece on the functions of time in Google Sheets sets a high bar for technical articles web wide. It is an archetype of technical journalism that readers are lucky to encounter in any subject. You deliver highly functional content in an effective, economical that demonstrates a profound understanding (whether intuitive or intentional) of your readers' needs and motives. Your deft phrases comprise sufficient flourish to rank in grammatical excellence while avoiding even an occasional minute of waste on superfluous verbiage. Indeed, the syntax and structure of this article create a perfect, invisible corpus which dances in perfect time with the rhythm of your message. This dance of information in symbols carries the reader immediately, effortlessly away into the topic. Attention rapt the reader isn't left to count the steps (moments or words) until the relief of termination but is instead lost in interest of the information until the steps exhaust, their number definite, exact and the article ends with no more than the perfectly shaped phrase nodding to decorum and literary.
    Then to remain in touch with your work and readers for years after original publication, actively responding to questions with distilled expertise...incredible and inspiring.
    Well done, well done. I haven't a question of formula or function to put to you yet but can certainly see a future that includes several germane inquiries. As I encounter those questions, I hope to indeed put them to you and appreciate the subsequent education I know you will provide.
    Keep onward in this most favorable spirit. Thank you for your effort and contribution to a better world.

  34. Brett Peart says:

    I am using this template for a weekly timesheet:

    I am trying to change the "Total Hours cells to show a decimal format rather an hour and minute format. I have tried adding the multiplication by 24 to the formula in the "Total Hours" cells and setting them to Automatic formatting, but rather than displaying as a decimal, they show an h:mm am/pm format. For example, when I applied it to a cell displaying a total of 1 and a 1/2 hours (1:30), rather than becoming what I am aiming for (1.5) it becomes (1:30 AM).

    What is the best way to achieve what I am looking for?

  35. Kris says:

    Hi natalia.
    I tried your formula it worked but if the time starts for example at 5pm and ends in 1am it gets and error since it shows negative. What should be the right formula?

  36. Kris says:


    • Hi Kris,

      This was the formula for Madden's case.
      I'd advise you to omit the excess SUM parts. Also, if the start and end times are on different days (but the difference doesn't exceed 24 hours), you need to:
      1) introduce the ABS function that turns the negatives into positives
      2) subtract the time difference from 24 hours only when the difference is negative

      Taking all these into account, here's the formula:

  37. Tom says:

    Hi Natalia,
    I have data with multiple times in a day formatted as start and stop times e.g.
    1/1/2020 17:19 1/1/2020 19:22
    1/1/2020 19:35 1/1/2020 20:25
    1/1/2020 21:08 1/2/2020 1:21
    1/2/2020 0:04 1/3/2020 17:30
    1/2/2020 9:05 1/3/2020 6:30
    I am trying to determine how much total time was used EXCLUDING overlaps. Can you suggest how this might be accomplished?

  38. Emily says:

    EXAMPLE #3 does not work correctly. I cannot get the elapsed time by hours in a decimal format with that formula.

  39. Sarah says:

    I'm trying to count total days between 2 dates, but my time is first and then the date, example: (column k) 15:45 03/23/2020 and (column m) 00:01 3/25/2020.
    Is this even possible? Thanks!

    • Hello Sarah,

      Google Sheets will recognize and calculate your values only if they correspond to one of the existing formats (Format > Number in the menu). In this particular case, you should switch date and time units places. Such cells will then be formatted as Date time, and you'll be able to subtract one from another. (Otherwise, they are merely text strings and you won't be able to do anything with them.)

  40. David Ha says:

    what if i want to find the average of time with milliseconds, for example,


    • Hello David,

      If the AVERAGE function returns errors, the problem is in the format of your source data. Google Sheets doesn't recognize the numbers you sent as numbers/time/duration. Also, the record 5:67.89 can't have 67 as seconds, the max can be 59.
      So, please correct your records and go to the Format > Number to pick one of the existing formats. Or proceed to Format > Number > More Formats > More date and time formats to create a custom one.
      Once it's correct, you'll be able to calculate the average even with milliseconds in time units.

  41. Izhar says:

    This is a great website to learn excel from. I have a question, please reply me.
    I have two columns, in one of the column there is duration and in the other one I want to add only the hours and not the minutes and seconds. For example: 1:45:30, 2:26:47 and 0:35:17 in column A, should appear as 1:00:00, 2:00:00 and 0:00:00 respectively in column B.

    Is there any way

  42. Mauro says:

    I've two cells formatted as Date Time and i cannot do any calculation..
    why? :(

  43. kantharaju says:

    hello All, I have tried with formula, But giving the result as below, Please suggest what's wrong.
    Eg : 05/06/2020 18:22:51 - 04/06/2020 16:42:24 = 721.6741667
    Please suggest how to solve this

  44. manuel says:

    Thank you very much for the guide!
    But I still experience an error that is testing my patient very hard...
    Basically when i put 13:00 in a cell (after applying the hh:mm format) google sheet doesn't recognize that as a number or time and it says that it is text...
    And no formulas works...
    Only way that i found is to imput the time using . instead of : but it's a bad workaround

    Anyone got this problem too?

  45. Maria says:

    I may be missing something, but I cannot find the solution to how to avoid a negative calculation of time when they're on two different days. I'm trying to create a very simple time sheet, but if someone has a start time of 11pm and end time of 4am this shows a total of -19 hours. How do we fix this within the formula? Thanks.

  46. Muhammad Waseem Anwar says:

    Hy! I need to help to solve problem. When employee atrandece time is greater than office time than cell is colour red . How can it possible plz

  47. Mark says:

    In regards to google sheets and changing the format. I imported a spreadsheet which has call log times for my employees. I am trying to standardize and find out the daily time they spend on the phones helping patients so I can track who is pulling the heaviest call volume. My report that exports from my phone company only puts the format as 10mins or 56 secs, is there a way or formula to convert that into the standard 00:00:00 timing format so that I can add up their total time? I am not seeing a way to do this and it is looking like this may be a manual process. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    • Hello Mark,

      There is a formula for your task :)

      You can check if your cells contain 'mins' or 'secs' and extract the numbers already converted to minutes or seconds accordingly. Here's a formula:

      Paste this formula where you want to see the result, change A2 to a cell you're checking, and make sure to change the number format of the resulting cells to Duration.

  48. John Peters says:

    Hi Natalia,

    Firstly, thank you for the work you have done here, it has helped me a lot. However, I am stuck at the final hurdle.

    I am calculating the total duration spent across a month and need to display the result in dd:hh:mm. I have the hh:mm for the month summed, so it's just this final part of the puzzle that has me stuck. Currently, I have a calculation that sums to 29:09 (so 29 hours and 9 minutes) which is correct and when I try to format that into dd:hh:mm it returns 31:05:09, however, it should be 01:05:09 (1 day, 5 hours and 9 minutes).

    Hope you can help.


  49. Moss says:

    Sorry if this is a silly question. I want my time differences displayed as a decimal of an hour (1.5 hours instead of 1:30:00) How can I do this? Thanks!

  50. Jesse says:

    Hello, I am trying to add up all the time in one column and have it represented as dd:hh:mm but I just can't seem to do it. Im wondering if you could help. I will give an example directly from the sheet. Also, they are all represented as hh:mm. So c1, 0:41 c2, 0:53 c3, 2:22 c4, 3:28 c5, 9:17 c6, 6:49 c7, 1:56 c8, 3:25 c9, 2:43 c10, 6:28. Like asked how would I add the whole column with said outcome? (So if I update it time will change) Also, could these be averaged but with an outcome of hh:mm so I could find average hours per day? (Each c1, c2 ect is a day). Thank you so much this would be very appreciated.

  51. Susan says:

    I'm trying to tally up 2 different columns of times and determine the difference between them. Both sets of columns have an end time, subtracted by the start time to determine duration. I have the result of the formula formatted as "[h]:mm." Most of the time, the value is positive, more time was spent rather than what was estimated. However, there are some times when the actual hours worked were less than what was expected. I'm trying to keep a running tally of hours 'owed' as opposed to extra.

    I am working on an old computer with an old version of Excel. It doesn't have as many of the formatting possibilities as you have listed in your examples above. The formula works when it returns a positive time duration, but the negative time is expressed as "####" because it says that there is no 'negative' time? Is there a workaround for this? Do I need to convert the time value to "real" numbers, keep a running sum, then put them back into time format for a total number of hours minutes? Could I incorporate an if/then statement?

    I'm not as familiar with Goggle Sheets. I am going to be sharing this data with someone via Sheets and if there is a better/easier way to use it directly I can just avoid Excel altogether.

    Thanks for your "time!" ;)

    • Hello Susan,

      The instructions in this blog post are for Google Sheets. For Excel, you will find them in this article. There Svetlana mentioned how to make Excel display negative time. Hope this helps!

      But if you're okay working with Google Sheets, there's only one version of Sheets and it shows negative time by default. Feel free to calculate everything in Google Sheets and let me know if it doesn't work as you expect there.

  52. Tari says:

    Hi Natalia,

    First of all, thank you for the amazing article and responses in the comments!
    I'm evaluating the time it takes to do certain tasks, and I was able to build a table with the correct duration values. This table includes values over 24 hours of duration, for example, "25:04:00".

    In the table, everything works great, the conditional formatting for values over 24 hours works, and everything is perfect. However, I created a chart from this table, and the chart doesn't work as well.

    It's a combo chart with bars representing the duration over time, and lines to represent the objectives and targets. Taking the example above, instead of 25 hours, the bar represents only 1 hour. It resets at 24 hours.

    Even worse, another chart that is a copy of the first but feeds on different values, will reset values at 12 hours.

    I can't seem to find any setting to control this. Can you help me?

    • Hi Tari,

      Appreciate your kind feedback :)

      For me to be able to help you with the chart, please share an editable copy of your spreadsheet with your table and the chart with us ( If you have confidential information there, you can replace it with some irrelevant data, just keep the formats and durations intact.

      Note. We keep that Google account for file sharing only, please do not email there. Once you share the file, just confirm by replying to this comment. I'll look into it.

  53. Mike says:

    if I want to multiply time?

    For example I have a base time of 0:08 minutes and I want to multiply it by for eaxmple "10", in which the result would be 1:20 hours?

    I've tried =0:08*10 but it gives me #ERROR!

    What should I do?

    • Hello Mike,

      You're getting the error because when you enter =0:08*10 that 0:08 is treated as text. This happens because Google Sheets doesn't see date and time the same way you see them. Please read about it here.

      For the calculation to work correctly, I'd advise you to enter 0:08 in a separate cell. This will let Google Sheets recognize the record (you'll see that the format in a cell will change to 00:08 while the formula bar will show 00:08:00). Then reference this cell in a formula from another cell: =A2*10
      Or use a formula like this: =TIME(0,8,0)*10

  54. Kim says:

    I am trying to create a google chart that automatically populates the 24 hour mark from the date and time I input in column A.

    6/17/2021 8:09 pm

    B- will automatically populate the date and time 24 hours later
    6/19/2021 8:09 pm

    Please assist

    • Hello Kim,

      Just make sure the Data range that is used by the chart includes all cells (even empty ones) that will be filled in future. For example, B2:B100. Once they are filled, they will be shown in the chart as well.

      If that's not really the problem, consider sharing an editable copy of your spreadsheet with us (
      Note. We keep that Google account for file sharing only and don't monitor its Inbox. Please do not email there. Once you share the file, just confirm by replying to this comment.

      I'll look into it and try my best to help.

  55. Zalmen says:

    hi can anyone help
    How To Convert Time To Decimal Over 24 Hours In Google sheet?

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