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: Displaying a Result as Minutes and Seconds.

Displaying a Result as Minutes and Seconds

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 20, 2015)

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 wonder 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:

=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 (6737) 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: 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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Converting a Table into Text

Word includes a power table editor that allows you to create and work with tables easily. At some point, however, you might ...

Discover More

Formatting Subtotal Rows

Excel automatically formats subtotals for you. But what if you want to change the default to something more suitable for your ...

Discover More

Adding Drop Shadows

Want your shapes to really 'pop' off the page? Add a drop shadow to them, as described in this tip.

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Checking for Time Input

Need to know if a cell contains a time value? Excel doesn't contain an intrinsic worksheet function to answer the question, ...

Discover More

Rounding Time

Need to round the time in a cell to a certain value? There are a couple of ways you can do this with a formula.

Discover More

Converting Numeric Values to Times

If you have a bunch of times entered into cells without the colon between the hours and minutes, chances are good that Excel ...

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 8Mpixels. 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 three more than 5?

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.