How to Add Time in Google Sheets: A Step-by-Step Guide

Adding time in Google Sheets can be a bit tricky, but once you get the hang of it, it’s a breeze. The key is to use the right formulas to ensure your data is accurate. In this article, we’ll walk you through the process of adding time in Google Sheets, so you can keep track of hours worked, project timelines, or any other time-related data you need to manage.

Step by Step Tutorial: Adding Time in Google Sheets

Before we dive into the steps, it’s important to understand that adding time in Google Sheets requires a bit of know-how with formulas. But don’t worry, we’ll guide you through each step.

Step 1: Format your cells

Make sure your cells are formatted to display time correctly.

When you input time data in Google Sheets, it’s crucial to format your cells to the time format. This will ensure that Google Sheets recognizes your data as time and not just plain text or numbers. To do this, select the cells you’ll be working with, go to Format in the menu, select Number, and then choose Time.

Step 2: Input your time data

Enter the time data into the formatted cells.

Now that your cells are formatted, you can start inputting your time data. Make sure you enter the hours and minutes correctly, using a colon to separate them (for example, 8:30 for eight hours and thirty minutes).

Step 3: Use the SUM function to add time

Utilize the SUM function to calculate the total time.

To add up the time data in your cells, you’ll want to use the SUM function. Click on the cell where you want your total time to appear, type in ‘=SUM(‘ and then select the cells with your time data. Close the parentheses and hit Enter. Google Sheets will now display the total time.

Step 4: Format the total time cell

Ensure your total time cell is also formatted to display time.

Just like with your initial time data, you need to make sure that the cell with your total time is formatted to display time. Repeat the same process as in Step 1 to format the total time cell correctly.

Step 5: Check for accuracy

Double-check your data and formulas to ensure accuracy.

After completing the steps above, take a moment to review your data and formulas. Make sure everything adds up and that your total time makes sense. If something seems off, go back through the steps to find any errors.

Once you’ve successfully followed these steps, your Google Sheets document will display the total time added from your individual time entries. This can be incredibly useful for tracking hours worked, scheduling, or any other time-sensitive data management.

Tips for Adding Time in Google Sheets

  • Always format your cells to the time format before inputing time data.
  • Use the 24-hour format for a more straightforward calculation (e.g., 14:00 instead of 2:00 PM).
  • Be mindful of AM and PM if you’re using the 12-hour format.
  • To subtract time, use the MINUS function instead of SUM.
  • If your total exceeds 24 hours, make sure to use a custom time format that accommodates longer time periods, like [h]:mm:ss.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I subtract time in Google Sheets?

To subtract time, use the MINUS function or simply type ‘=’ followed by the cell with the later time, a minus sign, and the cell with the earlier time.

Can Google Sheets calculate time in days, hours, and minutes?

Yes, Google Sheets can calculate time in days, hours, and minutes. You just need to ensure your cells are formatted correctly and use the appropriate formulas.

What if my total time exceeds 24 hours?

If your total time exceeds 24 hours, you’ll need to use a custom time format. Select your cell, go to Format, select Number, and then Custom number formats. Enter [h]:mm:ss to accommodate longer time periods.

Can I use military time in Google Sheets?

Yes, you can use military time (or the 24-hour format) in Google Sheets. It’s actually easier for calculations and reduces the chances of errors related to AM/PM confusion.

How do I ensure my time calculations are accurate?

Double-check your cell formatting and formulas. Test your sheet with known time values to ensure the calculations are correct, and always review your data for any potential errors.


  1. Format your cells to display time.
  2. Input your time data.
  3. Use the SUM function to calculate total time.
  4. Format the total time cell.
  5. Double-check for accuracy.


Mastering the art of adding time in Google Sheets is a valuable skill that can save you a lot of headaches in the long run. Whether you’re tracking work hours, planning events, or managing project timelines, knowing how to handle time data efficiently is essential. Remember to format your cells correctly, use the right formulas, and double-check your work for accuracy. With these tips and tricks up your sleeve, you’ll be a Google Sheets time-adding pro in no time. And remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different time formats and scenarios. Happy time tracking!

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