Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 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: Rounding to the Nearest Quarter Hour.

Rounding to the Nearest Quarter Hour

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated October 26, 2019)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365


Lisa is trying to set up a timesheet. It needs to go by the seven-minute rule. If it is 7 minutes till the hour it rounds to, say, 8:00 am; if it is 10 till it rounds to 7:45. If it is 7 minutes after it would be 8:00, and 8 minutes after would be 8:15 am. In other words, whatever time is entered needs to be rounded to the nearest quarter hour.

The full name of the rule that Lisa mentions is the "7/8-minute rule." It's a throwback to when timecards were processed manually. Depending on the particular time clock, the rule may not have the same result as quarter-hour rounding. Consider that the 7/8-rule rounds down all the way to 7 minutes and 59.9 seconds whereas quarter-hour rounding rounds down only to 7 minutes and 29.9 seconds. It's not a huge difference, but the 7/8-minute rule in a payroll context gives employers a 30 second freebie.

If Lisa is only entering hours and minutes, then quarter-hour rounding is just fine. This can be handled in a number of different ways. For instance, you could create a lookup table that shows what the rounded time would be for each time within the hour, and then—based on the number of minutes in the original time—use VLOOKUP (or one of the other lookup functions) to determine the correct minutes.

A better way, however, is to remember that Excel stores times as a fraction of a day, so to convert any given time to minutes you simply multiply a time value by the number of minutes in a day (24 * 60 = 1440). You can then divide by the desired time interval, in this case 15. This means that you can use any of the following equivalent formulas, if the time you want to round is in cell A1:

=ROUND(A1*(24*60/15),0)/(24*60/15)
=ROUND(A1*(1440/15),0)/(1440/15)
=ROUND(A1*96,0)/96

If you prefer, you can also "reverse" the formula by using any of these equivalent formulas:

=ROUND(A1/(15/(24*60)),0)*(15/(24*60))
=ROUND(A1/(15/1440),0)*(15/1440)
=ROUND(A1/0.01041667,0)*0.01041667

If you have the Analysis ToolPak enabled on your system, you could also use the MROUND function to determine the rounded time. The following are equivalent formulas that use the MROUND function:

=MROUND(A1,15/60/24)
=MROUND(A1,0.25/24)
=MROUND(A1,0.01041667)

If you are not comfortable figuring out the number that Excel uses to represent 15 minutes (as is done in these formulas), you could combine MROUND with the TIME function, in this manner:

=MROUND(A1,TIME(0,15,0))

As mentioned, all the formulas presented so far assume that seconds are not being entered into the original value. If they are being entered and you want to use the 7/8 rule exactly (favoring the employer for that half minute), then you need to use an adapted formula, in this manner:

=ROUND((A1*1440-0.5)/15,0)*(15/1440)

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (9360) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Rounding to the Nearest Quarter Hour.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Assigning Macros to Graphics

The graphics you place in a worksheet can do more than just look pretty. You can also assign macros to a graphic, which ...

Discover More

Specifying a Paper Tray in a Macro

You may want to use a macro to process and then print your document. Part of that printing may involve specifying which ...

Discover More

Nifty Zooming with the Mouse

Want to use the mouse to control the zoom level for your document? You can do it by combining your mouse use with the ...

Discover More

Professional Development Guidance! Four world-class developers offer start-to-finish guidance for building powerful, robust, and secure applications with Excel. The authors show how to consistently make the right design decisions and make the most of Excel's powerful features. Check out Professional Excel Development today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Using a Two-Character Day of the Week in a Date Format

Excel provides quite a bit of flexibility in how you can format dates. Even so, some dates simply cannot be formatted ...

Discover More

Converting European Dates to US Dates

Those in Europe use a date format that is different than those in the US; this is not news. But what if you need to ...

Discover More

Converting UNIX Date/Time Stamps

If you import information generated on a UNIX system, you may need to figure out how to change the date/time stamps to ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is two more than 7?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.