How to add minutes and seconds in Excel

You can watch a video tutorial here.

Excel treats date and time formats differently from numbers and text. Because of the different scales i.e. 24 hours, 60 minutes, and 60 seconds, when adding minutes and seconds they cannot be treated like regular numbers. In Excel, to be able to add minutes and seconds, you need to define the numbers as such for the addition to work correctly. You will need to add minutes and seconds when working with dates and times. For example, you may need to compute the total hours worked by a consultant to arrive at the fee to be paid.

In this example, we have the minutes and seconds taken for each task in a list and we need to add all the numbers together to get the total time taken.

Step 1 – Open the Format Cells window

– Select the column of numbers to be added in either of the following ways:
– Click on the first cell of the column, hold down the left-click button on the mouse, and drag to the end of the column
– Select the first cell of the column, hold down the Shift key and press the down arrow key till the last cell of the column is selected
– Right-click and select Format Cells  from the context menu
Go to Home > Number  and click on the arrow to expand the menu
Go to Home > Cells > Format > Format Cells
Press Ctrl+1

Step 2 – Format the numbers as time

– From the Number tab, select Time
– Select the hh:mm:ss format and check the Sample box to see that the format is correct
– Click OK

Step 3 – Add the minutes and seconds

– In the cell where the result is to appear, type the SUM() function using cell references:
= SUM(range of Duration)
– Press Enter