How Do I Change Hours & Minutes Into Decimal Numbers in Excel?

Changing hours and minutes into a decimal number in Excel is quite simple. All you need to do is input the time in standard format, and then divide the cell containing the time by 24, since Excel interprets one day as the number 1. Format the result cell as a number, and there you have it – time in decimals.

After completing this action, you’ll have a decimal number that represents the time initially entered in hours and minutes. This conversion can be quite useful for various calculations, such as payroll or time tracking.


When working with time data in Excel, you might find yourself needing to convert hours and minutes into a decimal number. Why? Well, this format can simplify calculations, like determining the total number of hours worked in a week or figuring out billing for time-based services. It’s especially handy for payroll computations, where you often need to multiply the time worked by an hourly wage.

This conversion is relevant to anyone who uses Excel to manage time-related data, from small business owners to HR professionals, and even students working on projects that require precise time management. Excel, being the versatile tool that it is, makes this process a breeze. By understanding how to perform this conversion, you can save time and eliminate potential errors in your calculations. Let’s dive into how you can turn those pesky hour and minute formats into clean, calculation-friendly decimal numbers.

Step by Step Tutorial: Convert Time to Decimals in Excel

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s establish what we’re aiming to do here. Converting time into decimals allows you to perform a variety of numerical operations with greater ease. Now, let’s break it down step by step.

Step 1: Input the time data

Enter the time data into a cell in Excel using the standard time format (hh:mm).

Entering the time in the correct format is crucial. Excel understands time in terms of days, where one day equals 1. If you enter “12:30,” Excel reads it as half a day.

Step 2: Divide the time by 24

In a new cell, divide the cell with the time by 24 to convert the time into a decimal.

Since Excel sees a whole day as the number 1, dividing by 24 converts the time value into the fractional part of one day, giving you the decimal equivalent of the time.

Step 3: Format the cell as a number

Change the cell format of the result to ‘Number’ with the desired decimal places.

You can set the number of decimal places you want to display. Typically, two decimal places are enough for time tracking, but you can adjust this based on your needs.


Simplified CalculationsConverting time to decimals makes multiplication and division with time values straightforward.
Increased AccuracyDecimal numbers are precise, reducing the risk of errors in computations involving time.
VersatilityDecimal time values can be used in a variety of applications, from payroll to project management.


Requires Understanding of ExcelUsers must have a basic knowledge of Excel functions to perform the conversion correctly.
Potential for MistakesIncorrectly entering time or choosing the wrong cell format can lead to errors.
Loss of DetailConverting to decimals might result in losing the distinction between hours and minutes.

Additional Information

When it comes to working with time in Excel, there are a few additional tips that can come in handy. First, remember that Excel handles dates and times as serial numbers. It’s also crucial to be mindful of the date and time settings on your computer, as they can affect how Excel interprets and displays time data.

Another useful function is the INT function, which can separate whole numbers from decimals – handy if you need to work with just the hours or just the minutes. Similarly, the MOD function can help isolate just the fractional part of a number, which can help you retrieve just the minutes from a time entered as a decimal. Be sure to experiment with different Excel functions to find the most efficient way to manage your specific time-related data.


  1. Input the time data into Excel in standard format.
  2. Divide the time cell by 24 to convert to decimal.
  3. Format the result cell as a number.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Excel automatically convert time to decimal?

Yes, Excel can automatically convert time to decimal using the steps outlined in this article.

Do I need to use military time for the conversion?

No, you can input time in Excel using AM/PM or 24-hour format, and the conversion process remains the same.

What if I only need to convert minutes to decimal?

You can adjust the formula to divide only by 1440 (the number of minutes in a day) to convert minutes to decimal.

Can I revert from decimal back to time format?

Absolutely. To convert decimal hours back to a time format, multiply by 24 and change the cell format back to ‘Time’.

Is there a limit to the decimal places Excel can handle?

Excel can handle up to 15 decimal places, but for time conversion, typically two decimal places are sufficient.


Being able to change hours and minutes into a decimal number in Excel is a skill that can streamline a wide array of tasks, from payroll processing to project management. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can perform this conversion quickly and accurately, unlocking new levels of efficiency in your work with time data. As with all things Excel, practice makes perfect.

So don’t hesitate to dive in and experiment with different formulas and functions to find the best approach for your specific needs. Remember, Excel is a powerful tool, and with a little know-how, you can bend it to your will, making time work for you.

Join Our Free Newsletter

Featured guides and deals

You may opt out at any time. Read our Privacy Policy