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 November 9, 2015)

1

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. ...

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What is three more than 8?

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.


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