by Svetlana Cheusheva, updated on
The tutorial demonstrates different ways to convert time to decimal in Excel. You will find a variety of formulas to change time to hours, minutes or seconds as well as convert text to time and vice versa.
Because Microsoft Excel uses a numeric system to store times, you can easily turn hours, minutes and seconds into numbers that you can use in other calculations.
In general, there are two ways to convert time to decimal in Excel - by changing the cell format and by using arithmetic calculations or Excel time functions, such as HOUR, MINUTE and SECOND. Further on in this tutorial, you will find the detailed explanation of the first way and formula examples demonstrating the other technique.
Overall, there are three ways to change a time value to a decimal number: arithmetic operation, CONVERT function or a combination of three different Time functions.
The easiest way to convert time to decimal in Excel is to multiply the original time value by the number of hours, seconds or minutes in a day:
In the following sections, you will learn the other methods of converting times to a decimal number in Excel.
This section demonstrates 3 different formulas to convert hours from the standard time format (hh:mm:ss) to a decimal number.
You already know the fastest way to convert a time value to a number of hours in Excel - multiplying by 24, i.e. by the number of hours in one day:
Where A2 is the time value.
To get the number of compete hours, embed the above formula in the INT function that will get rid of the fractional part:
Another way to perform the "time > hours" conversion is to use the following Convert formula:
=CONVERT(A2, "day", "hr")
Finally, you can use a bit more complex formula, whose logic, however, is quite obvious. Extract the individual time units by using the HOUR, MINUTE and SECOND functions, then divide minutes by 60 (the number of minutes in an hour) and seconds by 3600 (the number of seconds in an hour), and add up the results:
=HOUR(A2) + MINUTE(A2)/60 + SECOND(A2)/3600
The same three methods can be used to convert minutes from the standard time format to a decimal number.
To convert time to total minutes, you multiply time by 1440, which is the number of minutes in one day (24 hours * 60 minutes = 1440):
If you want to return the number of compete minutes, utilize the INT function like in the previous example:
You can view the results in the screenshot below:
To do the "time > minutes" conversion with the CONVERT(number, from_unit, to_unit) function, supply "day" as the unit to convert from and "mn" as the unit to convert to:
=CONVERT(A2, "day", "mn")
One more way to get the number of minutes is to multiply hours by 60 and divide seconds by the same number:
=HOUR(A2)*60 + MINUTE(A2) + SECOND(A2)/60
Converting time to total seconds in Excel can be done in a similar fashion.
Multiply the time value by 86400, which is the number of seconds in a day (24 hours * 60 minutes * 60 seconds = 86400):
The formula is basically the same as in the above examples with the only difference that you convert the "day" unit to "sec":
=CONVERT(A2, "day", "sec")
Use the HOUR, MINUTE and SECOND functions like in the two previous examples (I believe at this point you don't need any further explanation of the formula's logic :)
=HOUR(A2)*3600 + MINUTE(A2)*60 + SECOND(A2)
As is often the case, your Excel worksheet may contain dates and times in one cell, while you want to split them into two separate cells.
Remembering that in the internal Excel system the date value is stored as a whole part and the time value as a fractional part of a decimal number, you can extract the date using the INT function, which rounds the cell value down to the nearest integer.
Supposing your original dates and times are in column A, the following formula will accomplish the separation:
To extract the time portion, subtract the date returned by the above formula from the original date and time value:
Where column A contains the original date & time values and column B contains the dates returned by the INT function.
If you'd rather not have time values linked to the separated dates (for example, you may want to remove the date column in the future), you can use the following MOD formula that refers to the original data only:
Tip. If the separated date and time values are not displayed properly, change the format of the new columns to Date and Time, respectively.
This is how you split date and time in Excel. If you want to further separate hours, minutes and seconds into individual columns, then use the HOUR, MINUTE and SECOND functions, as demonstrated in How to get hours, minutes and seconds from a timestamp.
Sometimes, you may need to convert time into the format that reads something like "# days, # hours, # minutes and # seconds". A good thing is that you already know all the ingredients of the formula:
Having difficulties with figuring out a proper formula for your worksheet? The following example will make things easy!
Supposing you have the dates of upcoming events in column B beginning in cell B4, and the current date and time returned by the NOW() function in cell B1.
The formula to calculate the time difference is as simple as
=B4-$B$1. Of course, nothing prevents you from subtracting the current date and time directly with
And now, let's make a countdown timer that would show how many days, hours, minutes and seconds are left until each event.
The formula to enter in cell D4 is as follows:
=INT(C4) & " days, " & HOUR(C4) & " hours, " & MINUTE(C4) & " minutes and " & SECOND(C4) & " seconds"
If you wish to get rid of 0 values, like in cells D6 and D7 in the screenshot above, then include the following IF statements:
=IF(INT(C4)>0, INT(C4)&" days, ","") & IF(HOUR(C4)>0, HOUR(C4) & " hours, ","") & IF(MINUTE(C4)>0, MINUTE(C4) & " minutes and ","") & IF(SECOND(C4)>0, SECOND(C4) & " seconds","")
All zeros are gone!
Note. When either of the above formulas refers to a negative number, the #NUM! error will appear. This may happen when you subtract a bigger time from a smaller one.
An alternative way to write time in words in Excel is to apply the following custom time format to the cell: d "day," h "hours," m "minutes and" s "seconds". No formulas and no calculations are required! For more information, please see Creating a custom time format in Excel.
If your time formulas and calculations do not work right, time values formatted as text is often the cause. The fastest way to convert text to time in Excel is using the TIMEVALUE function.
The Excel TIMEVALUE function has just one argument:
Time_text is a text string in any of the time formats that Excel can recognize. For example:
=TIMEVALUE("6-Jan-2015 6:20 PM")
=TIMEVALUE(A2) where A2 contains a text string
As you see, the formulas with cell references and corresponding text strings deliver identical results. Also, please notice the left alignment of time strings (text values) in cells A2 and A6 and right-aligned converted time values in column D.
Supposing you have an Excel file full of times formatted to look like "8:30:00 AM" and you want to convert them to the text format. Simply changing the cell's format to TEXT won't work because this would change your time values to underlying numeric representation of the time. For example, 8:30:00 AM will be converted to decimal 0.354166666666667.
So, how do you convert cells to the text format so that your cells still have the time in them? The answer is to use the TEXT function that converts a numeric value to text with the display formatting that you specify, for example:
The screenshot below demonstrates other possible formats:
If you have a list of numbers such as 1, 2, 3.5 and you want to convert them to a time format, for example 1:00:00, 2:00:00 or 3:30 AM, perform the following steps.
If your time exceeds 24 hours, 60 minutes, 60 seconds, use these guidelines to correctly show it.
That's all for today. If someone wants to get the first-hand experience with the formulas discussed in this article, you are most welcome to download the sample workbook below.
If you want to learn a few more useful formulas to calculate times in Excel, please check out the related tutorials at the end of this page. I thank you for reading and hope to see you again next week!
Converting time in Excel - examples (.xlsx file)
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