How to Calculate Time Difference in Excel in Minutes: A Step-by-Step Guide

Calculating the time difference in Excel in minutes is a straightforward task. You can achieve this by using simple formulas to subtract one time value from another. This guide will walk you through the process, ensuring you understand each step and can replicate it easily. By the end, you’ll be able to calculate time differences confidently and quickly.

How to Calculate Time Difference in Excel in Minutes

Let’s dive into how to calculate the time difference between two given times in Excel, specifically in minutes. Follow these steps to get the exact time difference you need.

Step 1: Enter your times in cells

Make sure you have your starting and ending times entered in two separate cells.

For instance, enter the start time in cell A1 and the end time in cell B1.

Step 2: Format the cells as Time

Ensure both cells are formatted as ‘Time.’

To do this, right-click the cell, select ‘Format Cells,’ choose ‘Time,’ and pick the appropriate time format.

Step 3: Calculate the difference

Use a simple subtraction formula to find the difference between the two times.

In cell C1, type =B1-A1.

Step 4: Format the result as Time

Format cell C1 as ‘Time’ to ensure the result displays correctly.

Right-click cell C1, select ‘Format Cells,’ choose ‘Time,’ and pick the format that shows hours and minutes.

Step 5: Convert to minutes

To convert the result to minutes, use the formula =C1*1440.

Type this formula in cell D1 to get the total minutes.

Once you’ve completed these steps, Excel will show you the time difference in minutes. It’s as simple as that!

Tips for Calculating Time Difference in Excel in Minutes

  • Use the correct time format: Always format your cells as ‘Time’ when working with time values.
  • Double-check your times: Ensure your start and end times are accurate to get the correct difference.
  • Use absolute cell references if needed: If you’re copying formulas, use dollar signs ($) to keep cell references constant.
  • Account for AM/PM: Be mindful of AM and PM to avoid incorrect results.
  • Try keyboard shortcuts: Use Ctrl+Shift+2 to format cells quickly as time.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if my times span over midnight?

Use the formula =IF(B1<A1, B1+1-A1, B1-A1) to handle times spanning over midnight.

Can I calculate the time difference in seconds?

Yes, multiply the time difference by 86400 (=C1*86400).

How do I handle time differences over 24 hours?

Ensure your time format supports durations longer than 24 hours by using custom formats like [h]:mm.

Why do I get an error when subtracting times?

Ensure both cells are formatted as 'Time' and contain valid time values.

Can I use this method for dates too?

Yes, by combining date and time values, you can calculate differences spanning multiple days.


  1. Enter your times in cells.
  2. Format the cells as Time.
  3. Calculate the difference.
  4. Format the result as Time.
  5. Convert to minutes.


Calculating the time difference in Excel in minutes is a handy skill for anyone dealing with time management or scheduling tasks. By following this simple process, you can quickly and accurately determine the minutes between two times.

Remember to format your cells as 'Time,' and use the appropriate formulas to avoid errors. With these tips and steps, you'll be well-equipped to handle any time-related calculations in Excel.

For more advanced tips, consider exploring Excel's array formulas or pivot tables, which can further enhance your data analysis skills. Now, give it a try and see how this simple technique can save you time and effort!

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