calculate time difference

This worksheet lets you enter cities and their time difference. Excel calculates the corresponding local times in E5:E8. Press F9 to refresh the time and date in cell E3.

Formula in cell E3: =NOW()

Formula in cell E5: =$E$3+C5/24 Copy this cell and paste to E6:E8. There are both absolute and relative cell references in this formula.

Did you know that excel stores date and time as a number? 16 June 2015 is stored as 42171. 16 June 2015 12:00 is 42171.5. Time is the decimal part of the number (0.5) and the the date is 42171.

You can verify that this is true, type a date in a cell. Select the cell and press CTRL + 1. Change the formatting to General.

calculate time difference1

To add 7 hours to a datetime value you need to divide the hours with 24. 7/24 + 42171 = 42171.02916667. That explains the formula in cell E5: =$E$3+C5/24

Another example, 24 hours (1 day) is equal to 1. 42171 + 24 hours is 42171 + 24/24 = 42172.

Find the time difference

How do you know the time difference between where you live and another city/country? You don't, some countries use daylight saving time (summer time) or have changed their time zone. It can be really confusing. Go to and search for a city, it is the only way.

Type the time difference in column C, excel calculates the time for you in column E.

Time zones

This chart shows you the world divided into 24 time zones, in a perfect world this could be useful. Unfortunately it is pretty much useless.

Don't use this chart to find the time difference between two cities. It is not accurate and some countries have changed their time zone and use daylight saving time.

time zones1

I have included this chart in this post only to show you how I built it.

How I built the chart

Values and formulas

  1. Go to sheet2
  2. Type these values in column B and C, see pic below.
  3. Type this formula in cell D2: =IF(B2=Sheet1!$D$12, 1, 0)
  4. Copy cell D2 and paste to D3:D26

time zones - chart3

Insert a drop down list

  1. Go to sheet1, select cell D12
  2. Go to tab "Data"
  3. Click "Data Validation" button
  4. Select List
  5. Enter these numbers: -12, -11, -10, -9, -8, -7, -6, -5, -4, -3, -2, -1, 0, +1, +2, +3, +4, +5, +6, +7, +8, +9, +10, +11, +12, +13, +14
    time zones - chart2
  6. Click OK.

Insert a column Chart

  1. Go to sheet2
  2. Select cell range B2:C26
  3. Go to tab "Insert" on the ribbon
  4. Click "Column chart" button
    time zones - chart4
  5. Right click on chart and click "Select Data..."
  6. Click "Edit" button below Horizontal (Category) Axis Labels
  7. Select cell range B2:B26
  8. Click OK
  9. Select "Series1"
  10. Click "Edit" button
  11. Select cell range C2:C26 as series values
    time zones - chart5
  12. Click OK
  13. Select Series2
  14. Click "Remove" button
  15. Click OK

time zones - chart7

Adjust and remove vertical axis

  1. Right click on the vertical axis
  2. Click "Format Axis..."
  3. Change "Maximum Value" to "Fixed" and type 1.
  4. Click "Close" button
  5. Select "Vertical Axis" and press Delete

time zones - chart6

Remove legend and major horizontal gridlines

  1. Select "Legend"
  2. Delete "Legend"
  3. Select major horizontal gridlines
  4. Delete

time zones - chart8

Add vertical grid lines

  1. Select chart
  2. Go to tab "Layout" on the ribbon
  3. Click "Gridlines" button
  4. Click "Primary Vertical Gridlines"
  5. Click "Major Gridlines"


Add map to chart background

I found a world map at wikimedia commons. Copy picture (Ctrl + C)

  1. Right click on plot area
  2. Click "Format Plot Area..."
  3. Click "Picture or texture fill"
    time zones - chart9
  4. Click "Clipboard" button
  5. Click Close button

time zones - chart10

Adjust column gap width and transparency

  1. Right click on column
  2. Click "Format Data Series..."
  3. Change gap width to 0%
    time zones - chart11
  4. Go to "Fill" category
  5. Click "Solid fill"
  6. Change transparency to 50%
    time zones - chart13
  7. Click Close button

time zones - chart14

Download excel *.xlsm file

Calculate time between time zones.xlsm