Excel Tutorial: How Do You Add Time In Excel


When it comes to working with data in Excel, the ability to add time is a crucial skill for anyone dealing with time-related calculations. Whether you are tracking project timelines, calculating work hours, or analyzing data with time stamps, knowing how to accurately add time in Excel can save you a lot of time and effort in your work. In this tutorial, we will walk you through the steps of adding time in Excel and share some useful tips to help you streamline your time-related calculations.

Key Takeaways

  • Adding time in Excel is a crucial skill for anyone dealing with time-related calculations
  • Understanding different time formats and how Excel stores time is important for accurate calculations
  • Using formulas, such as the SUM function and the TIME function, can help streamline the process of adding time in Excel
  • Addressing common issues and using custom time formats can improve the accuracy of time calculations
  • Practicing and utilizing time-saving tips, such as keyboard shortcuts, can make adding time in Excel more efficient

Understanding Time Formats in Excel

When working with time in Excel, it's important to understand the different time formats and how Excel stores time.

  • A. Discuss the different time formats in Excel

    Excel allows you to input time in various formats, including hours, minutes, and seconds. Time can be entered using the 12-hour clock (e.g. 6:00 PM) or the 24-hour clock (e.g. 18:00).

  • B. Explain how Excel stores time

    Excel stores time as fractions of a day. This means that 1 hour is equal to 1/24, 1 minute is equal to 1/1440, and 1 second is equal to 1/86400. For example, 12:00 PM is stored as 0.5, since it is half of a day.

Adding Time in Excel: A Tutorial

In Microsoft Excel, adding time can be done using various formulas and functions. In this tutorial, we will cover three different methods for adding time in Excel.

A. Using the SUM function

The SUM function in Excel is a versatile tool that can be used to add up a range of cells. When it comes to adding time, you can simply use the SUM function to sum up the time values in different cells.

B. Using the TIME function

The TIME function in Excel is specifically designed for working with time values. To add time using this function, you can use the HOUR, MINUTE, and SECOND functions to extract the individual time components from different cells, and then use the TIME function to sum them up.

C. Using the plus (+) operator

In addition to using functions, you can also add time in Excel using the plus (+) operator. By simply adding two time values together using the plus operator, Excel will automatically perform the addition and give you the result.

Dealing with Time Calculations

When it comes to working with time in Excel, there are common issues that can arise, such as formatting and rounding errors. In order to accurately add time in Excel, it’s important to be aware of these issues and know how to handle them.

A. Address common issues when adding time in Excel

  • Formatting: Excel stores time as a fraction of a day, so formatting the cells correctly is essential for accurate time calculations. Ensure that the cells are formatted as time to avoid any discrepancies.
  • Rounding errors: When adding time values, Excel can sometimes introduce rounding errors due to its internal calculations. This can lead to inaccurate results, so it’s important to be mindful of this when working with time.

B. Provide tips for handling time calculations accurately

  • Use the correct format: When inputting time values, use the correct format to ensure that Excel interprets the values correctly. For example, use the format “h:mm:ss” for hours, minutes, and seconds.
  • Use the proper functions: Excel offers a variety of functions for time calculations, such as SUM, AVERAGE, and ROUND. Familiarize yourself with these functions to accurately perform time calculations.
  • Be mindful of time zones: If you are working with time values from different time zones, be mindful of the potential differences and adjust the calculations accordingly.

Using Custom Formats for Time

When working with time in Excel, it's important to have a clear and consistent format for displaying and manipulating time data. Customizing the time format in Excel allows you to display time in a way that makes sense for your specific needs.

Explain how to customize the time format in Excel

  • Select the cells – First, select the cells that contain the time data you want to customize.
  • Right-click and select Format Cells – Right-click on the selected cells and choose "Format Cells" from the context menu.
  • Choose the Time category – In the Format Cells dialog box, select the "Time" category from the list of options.
  • Specify the custom format – In the Type field, enter the custom format code for the time display you want (e.g., "h:mm:ss AM/PM" for 12-hour time with seconds).
  • Click OK – Click the "OK" button to apply the custom time format to the selected cells.

Show examples of different custom time formats and how to apply them

  • 24-hour time format – To display time in 24-hour format without seconds, use the custom format code "hh:mm".
  • 12-hour time format with AM/PM – If you prefer to display time in 12-hour format with AM and PM indicators, use the custom format code "h:mm AM/PM".
  • Time with seconds – To include seconds in the time display, use the custom format code "h:mm:ss".
  • Custom time format with text – You can also create a custom time format that includes text labels, such as "h 'hours' m 'minutes'" for displaying time in a more descriptive format.

Time-Saving Tips for Adding Time in Excel

Adding time in Excel can be a breeze if you know the right shortcuts and formatting techniques. Here are some time-saving tips to help you efficiently manage time-related data in your Excel spreadsheets.

A. Share keyboard shortcuts for adding time quickly

Using keyboard shortcuts can significantly speed up the process of adding time in Excel. Here are some essential shortcuts to help you quickly input time values:

  • Ctrl + : - Pressing Ctrl + : (semicolon) will automatically input the current time into a cell.
  • Ctrl + Shift + : - Pressing Ctrl + Shift + : (semicolon) will input the current date into a cell.
  • Ctrl + Shift + ; - Pressing Ctrl + Shift + ; (semicolon) will enter the current time into a cell without the date.

B. Discuss the importance of using consistent time formatting

Consistent time formatting is crucial for accurately working with time data in Excel. By using a consistent time format throughout your spreadsheet, you can avoid confusion and errors when performing calculations or analyzing the data. Here's why consistent time formatting is important:

1. Avoids interpretation errors

When time is formatted inconsistently, Excel may interpret the time values differently, leading to calculation errors or incorrect analysis.

2. Enhances readability

Consistent time formatting makes it easier for users to understand and interpret the data, improving overall readability and usability of the spreadsheet.

3. Facilitates calculations

When time is consistently formatted, performing calculations such as adding, subtracting, or averaging time values becomes much simpler and more accurate.

By incorporating these time-saving tips into your Excel workflow, you can effectively manage time-related data with ease and efficiency.


Recap: In this tutorial, we learned how to add time in Excel using simple arithmetic operations and the SUM function. We also discussed the importance of formatting cells correctly for time calculations.

Practice makes perfect: It's important to practice adding time in Excel to become proficient in the skill. As you continue to work with time values in Excel, you will become more confident and efficient in managing and manipulating time data.

So, don't hesitate to dive into your Excel spreadsheets and start practicing adding time!

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