The Excel TIME function is a built-in function that allows you to create a time with individual hour, minute, and second components. The TIME function is useful when you want to assemble a proper time inside another formula.


Create a time with hours, minutes, and seconds

Return value 

A decimal number representing a particular time in Excel.


  • hour - The hour for the time you wish to create.
  • minute - The minute for the time you wish to create.
  • second - The second for the time you wish to create.

How to use 

The TIME function creates a valid Excel time based with supplied values for hour, minute, and second. Like all Excel time, the result is a number that represents a fractional day. The TIME function will only return time values up to one full day, between 0 (zero) to 0.99999999, or 0:00:00 to 23:59:59.  To see results formatted as time, apply a time-based number format


=TIME(3,0,0) // 3 hours
=TIME(0,3,0) // 3 minutes
=TIME(0,0,3) // 3 seconds
=TIME(8,30,0) // 8.5 hours

The TIME function can interpret units in larger increments. For example, both of the formulas below return a result of 2 hours:

=TIME(0,120,0) // 2 hours
=TIME(0,0,7200) // 2 hours

However, when total time reaches 24 hours, the TIME function will "reset" to zero.

=TIME(12,0,0) // 12 hours
=TIME(36) // 12 hours

In this way, TIME behaves like a 24 hour clock that resets when it crosses midnight. Notably, TIME will not handle numeric inputs larger 32,767. For example, even though there are 86,400 seconds in a day, the following formula (which represents 12 hours) will fail with a #NUM! error:

=TIME(0,0,43200) // returns #NUM! 

As a workaround, you can convert hours, minutes, and seconds directly to Excel time with a formula:


The result is the same as the TIME function up to 24 hours. Over 24 hours, this formula will continue to accumulate time, unlike the TIME function.


  • When total time reaches 24 hours, the TIME function will "reset" to zero. 
  • The largest number that TIME will allow for hour, minute, or second is 32,767. Larger values will return a #NUM! error.
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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.