The Excel SECOND function returns the second component of a time as a number between 0-59. For example, with a time of 9:10:15 AM, second will return 15. You can use the SECOND function to extract the second into a cell, or feed the result into another formula, like the TIME function.


Get the Second as a number (0-59) from a Time

Return value 

A number between 0 and 59


  • serial_number - A valid time in a format Excel recognizes.

How to use 

The SECOND function extracts the second component from a time as a number between 0-59. For example, given a time of "12:15:01", SECOND will return 1. The SECOND function takes just one argumentserial_number, which must be a valid Excel date or a valid Excel time.

Time can be supplied to the SECOND function as text (e.g. "7:45:30 PM") or as decimal numbers (e.g. 0.5, which equals 12:00 PM). To create a time value from scratch with separate hour, minute, and second inputs, use the TIME function.

The SECOND function will "reset" to 0 every 60 seconds (like a clock). For example, given a time duration of 10 minutes, which is 600 seconds, the SECONDS function will return 0 (zero). To work with seconds values larger than 60, use a formula to convert time to decimal seconds.


When given the time "10:45:17 AM", the SECOND function will return 17:

=SECOND("10:45:17 AM") // returns 17

The formula below demonstrates how the TIME function can be used to create the time 9:30:45 in Excel:


If we wrap the SECONDS function around the TIME function, we get 45, as expected:

=SECOND(TIME(9,30,45)) // returns 45

Note: Excel stores dates as serial numbers and times as decimal numbers. For example, the time 12:00 PM is equal to 0.5 (one half-day), and the date Jan 1, 2000 12:00 PM is equal to the serial number 32526.5 in Excel. 

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Dave Bruns

Hi - I'm Dave Bruns, and I run Exceljet with my wife, Lisa. Our goal is to help you work faster in Excel. We create short videos, and clear examples of formulas, functions, pivot tables, conditional formatting, and charts.