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: Displaying a Result as Minutes and Seconds.

Displaying a Result as Minutes and Seconds

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated November 13, 2021)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365


3

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, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. 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 two less than 9?

2021-11-15 11:57:12

Tomek

@j. Woolley,
Works too, somewhat weird display.
You can move "/60" to the right end of the cell by using
0":"00 * /60
It would be cool to have "/60" hidden.


2021-11-14 10:18:59

J. Woolley

@Tomek
Very clever. Try this custom format:
0":"00/60


2021-11-13 12:55:30

Tomek

Deepak:

Just as a curiosity, you may format your result using custom format "# ??/60". The result will show as "2 25/60" rounded to nearest 1/60th


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