Working with Minutes

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 13, 2013)

Some people use Excel to help keep track of elapsed time. This may sound like a rather esoteric use of Excel, but it is not, really. For instance, you may develop a timesheet. You enter a starting time in a cell, an ending time in another cell, and then calculate the elapsed time between the two by simply subtracting the starting time from the ending time.

If you use Excel in this way, you may have a need to display your results in just minutes, with no hours showing. You can do this in one of two ways. The first is to simply format the cell containing the aggregate of your elapsed times. Follow these steps:

  1. Select the cell in which you want your result displayed as minutes.
  2. Choose Cells from the Format menu. Excel displays the Format Cells dialog box.
  3. Make sure the Number tab is displayed.
  4. In the Category list (left side) choose Custom. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Number tab of the Format Cells dialog box.

  6. In the Type box, enter the format as [mm], which consists of a left and right square bracket with two lowercase ms in the middle.
  7. Click on OK.

Your cell now contains only elapsed minutes. This is great for displaying results, but you may actually want a cell to literally contain a number representing the number of elapsed minutes. This need brings us to the second solution: simply multiply the aggregation cell by 1440 and format the result as a regular number (not as a date or time). This effectively takes a value out of the special date/time format maintained by Excel and puts it back into the realm of regular numbers.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2820) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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

Filling a Drawing Object

Want to add some spice to the graphics in your worksheets? There are many colors and effects in Excel that allow you take the ...

Discover More

Rounding to Two Significant Digits

Excel provides a variety of functions you can use to round values in any number of ways. It does not, however, provide a way ...

Discover More

Updating a Table of Contents

For longer documents, a table of contents is almost a necessity. Google Docs allows you to add a TOC to a document, but at ...

Discover More

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!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Automatically Advancing by a Month

Excel allows you to perform quite a few operations using dates in your worksheet. Sometimes, however, the answer may not be ...

Discover More

Parsing Non-Standard Date Formats

When you load data into Excel that was created in other programs, the formatting used for some types of data (such as dates) ...

Discover More

Specifying Different Weekends with NETWORKDAYS

The NETWORKDAYS worksheet function can be used to easily determine the number of work days (Monday through Friday) within a ...

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 9 - 2?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

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.

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.