Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. 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: Displaying a Result as Minutes and Seconds.

Displaying a Result as Minutes and Seconds

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 30, 2019)

2

When Deepak divides two numbers, he would like the result shown in minutes and seconds instead of a decimal value. For example, the result of the division 315/130 is 2.42 minutes, but he would like it displayed as 2:25 (2 minutes, 25 seconds).

Welcome to the wonderful world of working with time values in Excel. You need to understand that Excel, intrinsically, works with decimal values—such as 2.42. (Actually, dividing 315 by 130 results in an answer of 2.42307692.) There are several ways that you can display this as a non-decimal value, such as 2:25. One way is to use a formula such as the following, which returns a text value. (Remember--this is a single formula.)

=TEXT(INT(315/130),"0") & ":" &
TEXT((315/130-INT(315/130))*60,"0")

The problem with using such a formula, however, is that the resulting text value cannot be used in further calculations. (Well, not without jumping through bothersome and unnecessary hoops.) A better solution is to follow these general steps:

  1. Divide the result (2.42307692) by 1440.
  2. Select the cell with this result and format it to use the custom format mm:ss.

That's it. Your cell now shows 2:25, just as desired. Why does this work? It has to do with how Excel stores dates and times internally. Understand that, in Excel's world, anything to the left of the decimal point (2) is a number of days. Anything to the right of the decimal point (.42307692) is a portion of a full day. Thus, to get value 2.42307692 to something that Excel can understand as a number of minutes and seconds, you need to divide it by the number of minutes in a day (24 * 60, or 1440).

With the value "normalized" to what Excel expects for dates and times, you can then apply formatting to the cell and Excel displays it as you expect.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (11913) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Displaying a Result as Minutes and Seconds.

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

Finding Alternate Words

How to expand your vocabulary by using the Thesaurus.

Discover More

Using the Drawing Grid

One of the lesser-known drawing tools provided in Word is the drawing grid. You can easily turn this feature on and use ...

Discover More

Nesting IF Worksheet Functions

The IF worksheet function is very handy to make conditional evaluations. You are not limited to a single IF comparison, ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 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

Counting Times within a Range

Excel allows you to easily store dates and times in your worksheets. If you have a range of cells that contain times and ...

Discover More

Working with Elapsed Time

Work with times in a worksheet and you will eventually want to start working with elapsed times. Here's an explanation of ...

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 3 - 2?

2019-10-02 11:23:40

Mark Groessl

Hello Allen,

I just have a strange question. I formatted a cell as TIME, with the 13:30 property. Then, used this formula in it: =(315/130)/24. It came up with 2:25. Why does the division by 24 work, as well as the division by 1440?


2015-11-07 11:31:14

Steve Adams

Please be aware that the custom format of mm:ss will truncate any hours and display only the minutes and seconds For example 1568 minutes/23 minutes results in decimal 68.17391 or 1 hour 8 minutes and 10 seconds. The custom format of mm:ss will ignore the hours and display only the remaining minutes and seconds or 08:10.

If you want any hours to also be included but displayed in minutes, use the custom formt [mm]:ss to display the complete value of 68:10.


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.