When you work in Excel, it’s often useful to work with time values. Examples of these are 9:10 AM and 3:30 PM. Excel offers an array of display options to help you show times in a variety of styles. They’re easy to work with, and only take a few clicks. Let’s learn how to format times in Microsoft Excel.
How to Format Times in Excel
Imagine that you want to type in a time in a given cell: for example, 4:35 PM. If you simply type 4:35 in a General-format cell, the syntax will not change. But you may want to add additional data – for instance, 4:35:00 to represent 0 seconds after, or perhaps PM.
By default, Excel will often recognize 4:35 as 4:35 AM. This is driven by your system settings, but it’s easy to adjust in a spreadsheet.
To work with the value 4:35 PM, it’s helpful to input it in 24-hour time format, which would be 16:35. Once you have, right-click on the cell containing 16:35. Then, choose Format Cells from the dropdown.
On the Format Cells menu that appears, make sure that you’re working on the Number tab. Over on the left, in the Category section, you’ll see a plethora of options. The one you want is approximately halfway down the list, and it’s labeled Time. Go ahead and click on it.
In the center of your screen, in the Type section, you’ll see a list of time formats that you can apply to the cell. These include hours, minutes, seconds, 24- and 12-hour time layouts, and many more. As you click on each option, Excel will preview it in the Sample box, immediately above the Type window.
When you’ve found the option that works best for you, click OK to apply it. Back on your worksheet, Excel will now display your time in the format that you’ve selected.
As you can see, it’s easy to format times in Microsoft Excel.