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Combining and Formatting Times

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Combining and Formatting Times.

Brenda has an Excel worksheet with two columns: A and B. In column A are times, without any indication of whether they are AM or PM. Instead, column B contains either AM or PM, as appropriate for the cell just to the indicator's left. Brenda would like to combine these two columns into one column and have the result formatted as military time. Thus, if A14 contains 05:11 and B14 contains PM, she would like the combined column to contain 17:11.

There are very easy ways you can get the desired results in a column, but the formula you choose depends on the way the times are stored in column A. If the times are actually time values, then the following formula in column C will work just fine:


The formula works because it adds half a day (0.5, which is an Excel time value for twelve hours) to the time in column A if the indicator in column B is "pm". It will work whether the indicators in column B are lowercase ("pm") or uppercase ("PM"). It won't work, however, if you have any times in column A that are past noon, such as 12:15. In that case, you'll need to modify the formula a bit:


If the time stored in column A are actually stored as text, then you'll need to do a conversion, but it is extremely easy to do:

=VALUE(A1 & " " & B1)

Regardless of which formulaic approach you use, you'll need to format the cells containing the formulas so that they show times in military (24 hour) format. You can pick one of the pre-defined time formats (shown in the Number tab of the Format Cells dialog box) such as 13:30 or 13:30:55, depending on whether you want seconds displayed or not. You could also define a custom format such as HH:MM, H:MM, HH:MM:SS, or H:MM:SS.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (12040) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Combining and Formatting Times.

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Comments for this tip:

Michael Avidan - MVP    18 Aug 2012, 17:22
In many occasions, like this one, the IF statement can be eliminated and the following formula will return the same result.


Michael Avidan
“Microsoft®” MVP – Excel

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