Excel Tip: Calculate Difference in Hours between Two Dates

Posted: March 7, 2012 in Power of Microsoft Office
Tags: , ,

From time to time, people approach me with an Excel problem that looks easy to calculate while, unfortunately, there’s no straightforward solution to it. The problem is calculating the difference (in hours) between two date-time formatted cells.


Cell A1: 2/15/2012  10:00:00 AM

Cell B1: 2/18/2012  08:00:00 PM

What is the elapsed time between both dates (in hours)?

You can get the answer by using the below formula in cell C1:

= INT(B1-A1)*24+(((B1-A1)-INT(B1-A1))/0.04166666)

The result will be: 82 HRS








Formula rationale:

Excel stores all dates as integers and all times as decimal fractions. With this system, Excel can add, subtract, or compare dates and times just like any other numbers. Times are stored as decimal numbers between .0 and .99999, where .0 is 00:00:00 and .99999 is 23:59:59. So, an hour is about 0.041666 of the 0.99999.

Hence, with multiplying the integer part of the date serial number by 24 (to get number of hours for the whole elapsed days) and adding the result to the number of hours represented in the fraction part (the fraction part divided by 0.014666) you get the total number of elapsed hours between both dates.

  1. Jan Praet says:

    You are a genius, helped me really well. There are thousands of posts around calculating the time elapsed between two dates, yet none of them grasp the essance like you did, from a mathematical perspective. Thanks again for posting this

  2. wmphotouk says:

    I think you can also do (DATE1 – DATE2)*24, since if you just do DATE1 – DATE2 then you get an answer in decimal days.

  3. Wouter says:

    It looks fine, but for some regions you would like to take into account the daylight saving time.

  4. sunilkumar says:

    This really helped me.Struggled with all the formulas finally this worked

  5. Indeed one of the more inteligent and simple way to do this. Congrats.

  6. Sanchez Frometa says:

    You are a genius. Straight forward and simple. Thank you so much for your help!!!

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