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Excel TIME Function

We can use the Excel TIME function to create time using its individual components like hour, minutes and seconds values to return with a decimal number representing the specific time. The steps below will walk us through the process of using this in-built function.

Figure 1- Result of using the Excel TIME function

General Formula




Setting up the Data

  • We will create out a possible list of data as displayed in the figure below.
  • Column A will contain a list of Hours
  • Our list of Minutes will be displayed in Column B
  • Column C will contain a list of Seconds
  • We will insert our formula in Column D to arrive at the decimal result.

Figure 2 – Setting up the Data

Applying the Excel TIME function

  • We will click on Cell D4
  • We will insert the formula below into Cell D4
  • We press the enter key

Figure 3 – Applying the Excel TIME function

  • Using the fill handle tool (a plus sign located at the base of Cell D4), we will drag down the formula into the other Cells.

Figure 4 – Result of using the Excel TIME function


We use the TIME function to create a serial number format (decimal value) from its hours, minutes and seconds component. However, you must always use a valid component, because a valid component will always return with a valid time which can be formatted in your own way.

Also, we can combine the TIME function with many other functions to perform different operations such as:

  • Add decimal hours or decimal minutes to time through the use of the TIME function by adding the minutes or hours divided by 24 times
  • Use the TIME function together with the SUMPRODUCT function to achieve the sum of the total amount of time over 30 minutes.
  • Count the number of time in a given array by combining the TIME function and the COUNTIFs function.


  • Negative values are OK
  • When minutes or seconds are over 60, they will be rolled over to the hour or minute respectively.
  • When there are no components of some cells in a particular row, then zero will be inserted in the empty cells to prevent an error result.
  • The returned time will be in decimal form. Right-click and click on format cells. Click on time and select the time format.

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Another blog reader asked this question today on Excelchat:
Here are some problems that our users have asked and received explanations on

I have this in a time sheet, but it does not calculate the total hours your help would be great, I'm a little lost with how time is calculated ...=IFERROR(IF(COUNT(TimeSheet[@[Time In]:[Time Out]])=4,(IF([@[Time Out]]<[@[Time In]],1,0)+[@[Time Out]])-[@[Lunch End]]+[@[Lunch Start]]-[@[Time In]],IF(AND(LEN([@[Time In]])<>0,LEN([@[Time Out]])<>0),(IF([@[Time Out]]<[@[Time In]],1,0)+[@[Time Out]])-[@[Time In]],0))*24,0)
Solved by C. A. in 27 mins
I want to subtract my Stop Time Cell from my Start Time cell and have it output my Actual Time in minutes in another cell. For Example Start Time Stop Time Actual Time (mins) 0:34:27 0:36:27 2 How do I enter in the Stop Time and Start Time to get that output?
Solved by G. E. in 16 mins
=IF(B2="Mon""Tue""Wed",IF(TIME(C2,D2,E2) > TIME(12,30,0),"Connor","Angus"),IF(TIME(C2,D2,E2) > TIME(12,30,0),"Connor","Borris"))
Solved by Z. H. in 18 mins

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