Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. 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: Using Excel for Timing.

Using Excel for Timing

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 19, 2015)

1

You may want to use Excel to record the elapsed time for different events. There are two ways that this can be approached: either native, within Excel, or with a macro.

If you don't want to use a macro, you can easily set up three columns for your timing. The first column can be used to record the start time, the second column the end time, and then the third column the elapsed time (calculated by using a formula that subtracts the start time from the end time). In order to record times, you select a cell in either the start time or end time columns and press Ctrl+Shift+: (the colon). Excel enters the current time in that cell.

If you want to use a macro that simply returns the elapsed time, then you can use the following:

Public Sub TimeIt()
    Dim vStartTime As Date

    vStartTime = Time
    MsgBox Prompt:="Press the button to end the timing" & vbCrLf _
      & "Timing started at " & Format(vStartTime, "hh:mm:ss"), _
      Buttons:=vbOKOnly, _
      Title:="Time Recording Macro"
    ActiveCell.Value = Time - vStartTime
End Sub

This macro records a start time (in vStartTime), and then displays a message box. When you click on the message box button, the difference between the current time and the start time is stored in the current cell. (You need to make sure the current cell is formatted with one of the time formats.)

The above macro works very well for recording short events during which you don't need to use Excel for other tasks. If you need to record longer events, then a different approach is in order. The following macros work in tandem. The first one records a start time; that is all it does. The second one uses that recorded time to calculate an elapsed time which is placed in the currently selected cell.

Global vStTime

Sub StartTiming()
    vStTime = Time
End Sub

Sub EndTiming()
    ActiveCell.Value = Time - vStTime
End Sub

You could easily assign these two macros to the Quick Access Toolbar or to different toolbar buttons that would, respectively, start and stop the timing process.

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 (11193) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Using Excel for Timing.

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

Documenting Changes in VBA Code

Your company may be regulated by requirements that it document any changes to the macros in an Excel worksheet. Your ...

Discover More

Displaying the Selected Cell's Address

Need to know the address of the cell that is currently selected? The function and macro highlighted in this tip will come ...

Discover More

Adding Hyphenated Words to the Dictionary

When you hyphenate words, does the resulting compound word end up being marked as incorrectly spelled? This tip examines ...

Discover More

Excel Smarts for Beginners! Featuring the friendly and trusted For Dummies style, this popular guide shows beginners how to get up and running with Excel while also helping more experienced users get comfortable with the newest features. Check out Excel 2013 For Dummies today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Dealing with Midnight Ending a Day

Dealing with times in Excel is fairly straightforward, except when it comes to midnight. Some people prefer that midnight ...

Discover More

Dealing with Small Time Values

It is no secret that you can store time values in an Excel worksheet. But do you really know how small of a time value ...

Discover More

Entering or Importing Times without Colons

Enter a time into a cell and you normally include a colon between the hours and minutes. If you want to skip that pesky ...

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 9 + 2?

2016-10-04 05:13:26

Tanya

How do i get excel to included the seconds, when i press Ctrl+Shift+: (the colon). Excel enters the current time in that cell.I need seconds too.


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.