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Adding hours up in Excel

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry170904-120009

One of the common uses for Excel is time recording but it can get a little confusing when you try to add hours up to get a grand total because, in normal practice, Excel will apply the same cell formatting to the cell with your total in as was applied to the times shown in the individual rows.

Why this is a problem is demonstrated in the following example - while you can probably get the right answer you’re looking for on each individual row, this is because the number of hours is less than 24 but, when you start adding these up (and go over 24 hours) Excel will start counting each 24 hour block of hours as 1 day, and your cells may not be formatted to display those days.

This is what happened below and you can see the custom formats I used to display exactly the same total in different ways. Remember that you can quickly access the custom formatting options by selecting the range of cells you want to format and then pressing Ctrl+1 on your keyboard.

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Just remember to use an “h” in square brackets like this if you want Excel to treat the cell as the total number of hours (and not days and hours). If the format you’re looking for isn’t displayed in the list of formats then simply type it in yourself in the “Type:” box, and click “OK”.

image

If what you’re looking for is decimal hours (i.e. 72 point five hours instead of 72 hours and 30 minutes) then you need to change the format to a simple number format (e.g.

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Support our caregiving

Support our caregiving

If you found anything on this site of use, interesting, or even mildly amusing then please consider dropping a few pennies in the jar to help us to take care of our disabled son who contracted encephalitis in 2007 at the age of 6 and who is now confined to a wheelchair. He is getting bigger as his mother and I get older, imagine that, please. Every penny we collect goes towards his upkeep, and towards his future care requirements.

Thank you.