**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: How Excel Stores Dates and Times.

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated January 25, 2022)**This tip applies to** Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003

Internally, Excel stores a date or time as a number. The whole part of the number (the part to the left of the decimal point) represents the number of days since an arbitrary starting point (typically January 1, 1900). The decimal portion (the part to the right of the decimal point) represents the time for that date. These internal representations of dates and times are often referred to as *serial numbers*.

To see how this works, enter the number 23 in a cell. If you have not previously formatted the cell, Excel uses the General format, displaying the number simply as 23. If you later format this cell using a date format—m/d/yy, for instance—Excel changes the display to 1/23/00, or January 23, 1900.

The portion to the right of the decimal point represents a fractional portion of a day. Thus, a single second would be equal to approximately 0.00001157407, since that is equal to 1 (a day) divided by 86,400 (the number of seconds in a day).

Since Excel stores dates and times as serial numbers, you can do math on them. For instance, if you wanted to determine the number of days between two dates, or the amount of time between two times, simply subtract them from each other. The result is the number of days and fractions of days between the two.

*ExcelTips* is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training.
This tip (2176) 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: **How Excel Stores Dates and Times**.

**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!

Excel allows you to perform math using times as operands. If you subtract a later time from an earlier time, you should ...

Discover MoreNeed to figure out when a fiscal year ends when that period does not correspond to the calendar year? Here are some ways ...

Discover MoreExcel makes it easy to import information created in other programs. Converting the imported data into something you can ...

Discover More**FREE SERVICE:** Get tips like this every week in *ExcelTips,* a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

2022-03-29 22:35:01

Peter

If you just want to deal with clock time in your example, you need to discard the integer number of days to the left of the decimal point. Otherwise you are dividing (1+0.77791203703704) by 3 and will get the expected answer 0.592637346 or 2:13:24 PM.

You can get the fractional part representing clock time by using one of the expressions MOD(A1,1) or A1-INT(A1)

You have also discovered that day 1 of the Excel calendar is 1/1/1900. Day 0 is 0/1/1900.

So the formula bar was correctly showing a date-time value of 1 day, 18h, 40min, 12 sec albeit as 1/01/1900 6:40:12 PM

2022-03-28 17:39:47

Tim

I can get to the correct 3:06 by using the equation "=((hour(a1)*3600+minute(a1)*60+second(a1))/6)/86400", (convert time to number of seconds), divide by 6, then convert back to fraction of a day. but why can i not just divide the fraction of the day by 6 and get the same results? I know I'm missing something!

Got a version of Excel that uses the
menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)?
**This site is for you!** If you
use a later version of Excel, visit
our *ExcelTips* site focusing on the ribbon interface.

**FREE SERVICE:** Get tips like this every week in *ExcelTips,* a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

Copyright © 2022 Sharon Parq Associates, Inc.

## Comments