Summarize hours in Excel

Sometimes it’s a little tricky to summarize hours in Excel. Let’s say you want to add together your working hours (or your employee’s). You make a table like this and use the SUM function to add them together. Look what happens:

The sum is 13:45 instead of the expected 37:45. That’s 24 hours less than we wanted!

This is why: The result is 1 day, 13 hours and 45 minutes, but when you use the SUM function, Excel assumes that you want to keep the format above, which only shows hours and minutes.

How to fix it: Open the Format Cells window (Ctrl+1) and choose Custom.

1. If you want to show the result in days, hours and minutes, the format should be dd:hh:mm. The sum will look like this: 01:13:45

2. If you want to show the result in hours and minutes, the format should be [h]:mm. The sum will look like this: 37:45

3. As you see above, the square bracket tells excel to summarize that particular time unit, so if you want to show the time in minutes, enter the format [m]. It works for seconds too: [s]

[h]:mm
Author: Audun Danielsen

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