Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Adjusting Times for Time Zones.

Adjusting Times for Time Zones

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 4, 2018)


David collects data from two locations, one on the East coast and the other on the West coast. After collecting the East coast times, he needs to adjust them for the time zone differences. He is wondering how to adjust the East coast times by three hours so they represent West coast times.

How to adjust an East coast time by three hours to be consistent with West coast times depends on the nature of the times you are adjusting. In general, if the data is stored as an Excel date/time serial number, then the adjustment is easy. All you have to do is remember that in the serial number format, anything to the left of the decimal point is days and anything to the right of the decimal point is partial days (hours, minutes, and seconds).

Since an hour is 1/24 of each day, three hours would be 3/24, or 0.125. Simply subtract this value from the serial value stored in the worksheet, and you've adjusted the time for the difference in time zones. The actual formula is easy:


You have to be a bit careful in doing this sort of adjustment with your date/time serial numbers, however. If the values in the worksheet are simply time values (there is no date component to the left of the decimal point), then subtracting 0.125 from the time value can result in an erroneous result if the original time is anywhere between midnight and 3:00 am. The way around that is to make the formula just a bit more complex:


If the value in A1 is strictly a time value, between midnight and 3:00 am, the formula adds 21 hours (21/24 or 0.875) to the value, providing the expected result of an adjusted time between 9:00 pm and midnight.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (9309) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Adjusting Times for Time Zones.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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What is two less than 5?

2018-05-18 13:41:38

Sheldon Searle

So the value actually stored by the now() function is absolute, in essence the UTC time at that moment (accounting for the UTC offset the pc is showing at that moment)?

So if I look at the cell in the spreadsheet while in a US Central time location and it says 5/18/18 9:00 am, then travel and the next day look at the spreadsheet, with my system time adjusted to US Pacific time, that same field will show as 5/18/18 7:00 am?

Thank you very much for your help!

2016-02-22 19:59:26

peter Atherton

Alex, I'm not sure what the problem is. When you press Enter excel will move to the cell below. To stay in the same cell press Ctrl + Enter. If you enter a date stamp Ctrl + ; keep hold of Ctrl as you press Enter.

If you enter a date 12-2-16, Excel converts this to 12/2/2016 that is 12 day of February (in the UK). If this date is converted to 2/12/2016 This is USA format and you need to change the country in the settings.


2016-02-21 07:29:29


Hi, every time I put the date in a cell when I hit enter change to another date. What should I do? Thank you

2015-04-30 21:00:13

Peter Atherton


2/24 = 0.395833333

so in b1 enter =A1+.0.3958

2015-04-29 11:33:05


Adding two columns to show two different time zones. Column A column will show New York time (for example 0800)and column B needs to convert New York time to Chennai, India time. Chennai is 9.5 hours ahead of New York. How can I best format the formula in column B?

2015-03-30 11:05:34


I have time in PST IE 4:30 AM. How do I make that east coast time. IE 7:30 AM. This is just one cell but I have much data to convert. Help[

2015-03-30 11:05:34


I have time in PST IE 4:30 AM. How do I make that east coast time. IE 7:30 AM. This is just one cell but I have much data to convert. Help[

2014-12-29 10:57:29


What if I am using the same template for multiple areas, some outside the US. For example, when someone opens the template, to have the time automatically log, I am using =NOW() and custom formatting of HH:MM. I want the time that logs to automatically show in EST no matter where the person is that is opening the file.

2014-10-06 13:46:07


@Ross. Excel has so many functions I don't remember them all when I should, and I don't remember them because I don't see a use for them when I read about them. Nice job of setting that in my mind.

OTOH, I think you still need to account for time-only cells, where the numeric value is less than one.

In this case I would adjust your formula to

2014-10-03 09:18:22

Terry Tewell

This formula works except for when I have a time that would result would be in the PM Example =$A2-(TIME,2,0,0) And A2=1:00:00 AM. I get ##### with the message saying the "Dates and Times that are negative or too large display as ###"

2014-09-28 15:56:49

Ross Marsden

You can also use the idiom
to make it clear that this is a time operation.

2014-09-27 05:46:16

Michael (Micky) Avidan

The following shorter formula will also avoid the error:
Michael (Micky) Avidan
“Microsoft® Answers" - Wiki author & Forums Moderator
“Microsoft®” MVP – Excel (2009-2015)

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