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

Preventing Changes to Styles in Documents

Have you ever created a template only to have the styles within it changed as they were used within a document? Here are ...

Discover More

Arranging Desktop Icons Automatically

Is your desktop getting messy, with icons strewn everywhere? One way to help manage the plethora of icons on your desktop ...

Discover More

Adding Hyphens to Phrases

Editing text to turn regular words into hyphenated phrases can be a real bother. The chore can become a breeze if you ...

Discover More

Professional Development Guidance! Four world-class developers offer start-to-finish guidance for building powerful, robust, and secure applications with Excel. The authors show how to consistently make the right design decisions and make the most of Excel's powerful features. Check out Professional Excel Development today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Converting Time Notation to Decimal Notation

Want to convert an elapsed time, such as 8:37, to a decimal time, such as 8.62? If you know how Excel stores times ...

Discover More

Dealing with Small Time Values

It is no secret that you can store time values in an Excel worksheet. But do you really know how small of a time value ...

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
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 5 + 3?

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.