Excel: Convert seconds to minutes

April 27, 2012

You’d think that converting seconds to minutes in an Excel spreadsheet would be simple, but it’s not. You can’t just divide by 60 — the result of that will be minutes and decimal fractions of a minute, not minutes and seconds. For example, if you divide 78 seconds by 60, you get 1.3, but 1.3 is NOT the same as 1:18 (1 minute and 18 seconds). Likewise, 247 seconds divided by 60 is 4.11, whereas 247 seconds is actually 4 minutes and 7 seconds. If you only have a couple to do, no big deal — just figure it out in your head. But if you have hundreds or thousands of these conversions, you need a formula for doing that.

To convert seconds to minutes, you have to divide the seconds by the total number of seconds in a day, then tell Excel to display the result in mm:ss format. Simple, huh? ;-)

Here’s what I did…

  1. Column G in the screen shot below has a long list of seconds. Because I need to reference column G and put the results into a new column, I inserted a new column (H) and called it mm:ss.
  2. However, inserting a new column isn’t enough — I have to format the cells in that column so that they display the result in minutes and seconds. To format the column, select the column header, right-click on it, select Format Cells, select Custom on the Number tab, then select mm:ss from the list of types. Click OK.
  3. Go to the first cell in the new column that pairs with a cell in the seconds column. In my example, that was H4.
  4. In the formula bar, type =G4/86400 then press Enter. The seconds convert into minutes and seconds! (But where does that 86400 come from? That’s the number of seconds in a day — 60 x 60 x 24 = 86400. And the G4 was the reference cell for my H4 cell.)
  5. Now, click in the H4 cell and ‘grab’ the bottom right handle of the cell marker and drag it down the other cells in column H. (See below for how to apply it to ALL cells in the column.)

  6. When you release the mouse, all those cells you dragged this formula over will be converted to minutes and seconds.

To apply this formula to the entire column:

  1. Copy (Ctrl+C) the result in the first cell with the formula (H4 in my example).
  2. Select the entire column (column H in my example) by selecting the column header.
  3. Paste (Ctrl+V).
  4. You’ll have to rename the column back to mm:ss, but you’ll have that formula now applied to every row of your spreadsheet.

These sites helped me figure out what to do:

[Links last checked April 2012]


  1. It worked, thanks for the advice! I will use this formula from now on.

  2. Yes it worked perfect, great advice. Thanks.

  3. Formula worked great, very easy!

  4. Good job – simple and easy

  5. Also works the other way around. Input 00:00 multiply by (60*60*24) and it gives you the seconds.


  7. Awesome. Thanks. After searching through dozens of websites (which were useless as they were converting seconds into minutes + decimal fractions of a minute), I finally found the right solution here and it was very simple and straightforward.

  8. I need it to go to thousands of a second. so it would be mm:ss.xx,

  9. sorry hundreds not thousands of a second.

  10. Thanks:)

  11. Great. Thank you.

  12. Very nice conversion format. How do I remove the 0 in the times shown in min:sec. Ex. 63.5 sec. is shown as 01:03.5. We don’t show the 0 in printing the final times of horses that ran in a particular race. Your help will be fully appreciated…GOS BLESS !!!

  13. Genious! Thank you, exactly what I needed.

  14. awesome, helpful.

  15. Thanks! Great idea!

  16. yay! thank you I like the explanation and walk through made this super easy

  17. Thanks. Works great. :)

  18. Thanks!

  19. Brilliant. I spent a few hours messing around trying to do this over a number of different attempts. Was getting very frustrated and couldn’t find a simple way to do it. Should have googled it straight up. Excel help was a waste of time. I really needed to know how to do this for a spreadsheet I was setting up. Glad when I googled yours was the first place I went to. So simple. Mucho Mucho Thanks. Be proud you have shared some great advice. You Whiz!

  20. This was so helpful!!! thank you so much!!!! :)

  21. Hey,
    I have an issue when the it is over 60th minute, is there a way how to keep the minutes running , let’s say for the 90 minutes please ?

  22. Weird, this only partially worked for me. I applied this to a large dataset and noticed a lot of errors. Seems to break for anything over ~3000 seconds. Would recommend anyone using this to double check it!

  23. Hi Jeff

    Thanks for your warning about the ~3000 seconds limitation.


  24. […] Convert seconds to minutes: https://cybertext.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/excel-convert-seconds-to-minutes/ […]

  25. Find the below solution

    Total 915 Sec
    Formula =915/86400*60
    It will show exact minutes with sec

    ConversationDuration MM:SS
    915 15:15 =E2/86400*60

  26. Hi is there a way to convert data of time stamp which is in format (1 minute 30 seconds) to 00:01:30

  27. Great job so far, but please tell us how to get rid of the leading zero!

  28. Hi Peyton

    As far as I’m aware, you can’t get rid of the leading zero if you choose mm:ss. The format is two characters for minutes and two for seconds. If there aren’t any minutes, then 00 will display. I couldn’t find any format to select that didn’t have two characters for the minutes.


  29. […] How to convert seconds to minutes in Excel […]

  30. THANK YOU! Simple solution that I agonized for days on and finally had the time to find it. Easier than searching for a quick online calculator. For those looking for thousandths of a second, just add “.00” after the mm:ss. “mm:ss.00”

  31. Very helpful thank you

  32. Has helped me a lot, thank you!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: