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: Checking for Time Input.

Checking for Time Input

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 17, 2021)

Excel provides a number of functions that return True or False depending on the content of a cell. For instance, ISBLANK returns True if a cell is empty, ISERR returns True if a cell contains an error value, and ISTEXT returns True if a cell contains text. You may wonder if it is possible to determine if a cell contains a time.

The short answer is no, you cannot—Excel contains no function to indicate if a cell contains a time. The reason is quite simple: Times and dates in Excel are technically nothing but numbers. A date is any number in the range 1 to 2958465, which represent the dates of 1/1/1900 through 12/31/9999. If you add a decimal portion to the number, then that represents a time (0 is midnight, 0.25 is 6:00 am, 0.5 is noon, etc.).

Knowing the range of values that can be used for dates and times, along with the fact that a cell containing a time should be formatted properly to display a time, you can create a formula that will indicate if a cell contains a time:

=IF(AND(CELL("format",B2)>="D6",CELL("format",B2)<="D9"),
"Time Format","Not Time Format")

This formula checks the formatting applied to cell B2. If the formatting is one of the commonly used formats for times, then it returns the text "Time Format." If a different formatting is used, then the formula returns "Not Time Format."

A different approach is to check whether the value in cell B2 is a valid time value. You can do that by using a formula such as the following:

=IF(TIMEVALUE(TEXT(B2,"hh:mm:ss"))=B2, "Time Entry", "Not a Time Entry")

The function works fine as long as cell B2 contains only a time. If the cell contains both a date and time, then the function always returns "Not a Time Entry."

To get the best of both worlds—checking formats and the value in the cell—consider making a user-defined function in VBA. The reason is simple: VBA includes the IsDate function which not only looks at the current range of the number, but also checks to see that the cell is formatted as a date. The following macro provides an example as to how you could create such a function:

Function IsTime(rng As Range) As Boolean
    Dim sValue As String
    sValue = rng.Cells(1).Text
    On Error Resume Next
    IsTime = IsDate(TimeValue(sValue))
    On Error GoTo 0
End Function

To use the function, use the following formula in a cell:

=IsTime(B2)

The function reads how the value is displayed (using the text property of the cell object) and then tries to convert it with the TIMEVALUE function. If that is a date (determined by the IsDate function) then the display is a valid time. If it is not a date, VBA generates an error, which the code is programmed to ignore.

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the ExcelTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (9699) 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: Checking for Time Input.

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

Duplex by Default

Many printers these days have the capability to print on both sides of a piece of paper. You may want Word to use this ...

Discover More

Using Multiple Print Settings

Do you have a worksheet from which you need to print only portions of the data available? There are two ways you can ...

Discover More

Word Indexes and Special Tables

One of the finishing touches used in some types of documents is an index or a special table, such as a table of contents. ...

Discover More

Solve Real Business Problems Master business modeling and analysis techniques with Excel and transform data into bottom-line results. This hands-on, scenario-focused guide shows you how to use the latest Excel tools to integrate data from multiple tables. Check out Microsoft Excel 2013 Data Analysis and Business Modeling today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Calculating TV Time

In some industries it is necessary to work with time resolutions of less than a second. If you need to keep track of such ...

Discover More

Converting UTC Times to Local Times

Dates and times are often standardized on UTC time, which is analogous to GMT times. How to convert such times to your ...

Discover More

Taking the Time into Account in a Formula

Need to check the current time in a formula you are putting together? It can sometimes be tricky to remember what Excel ...

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}] 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 1 + 9?

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.